Coranderrk is a superb example of communicating history to a wide audience, using methods that bring together scholarship, performance and Aboriginal knowledge. In doing so it provides a deeper and more accurate understanding of the colonial past. It comprises twenty-three extracts from the Minutes of Evidence of the Coranderrk Inquiry, accompanied by an analysis of the historical text and context. The book relies strongly on primary-source materials and accurately references historical analysis from scholarly and Aboriginal perspectives. An introduction illustrates how Coranderrk provides a window onto the history of colonial dispossession and genocide in settler states more generally as well as the historical events which led to the establishment of the Coranderrk community, the protest campaign that sparked the 1881 Parliamentary Inquiry, and the consequences and aftermath of the Inquiry. Coranderrk relies strongly on primary-source materials (featuring an archive of testimonies of Aboriginal people that has hitherto received little attention), and contains valuable and accurately referenced historical analysis of this material from scholarly and Aboriginal perspectives, including reflections on the process of working between history and theatre to promote education.
The battle for Coranderrk was one of the first sustained campaigns for justice, land rights and self-determination. Proud of their culture, their community and their award-winning farm, the Kulin people (led by William Barak) lobbied against the Aboriginal Protection Board and greedy local landowners, who wanted them removed. The authors foreground the events which led to the protest campaign, the 1881 Parliamentary Inquiry, and the aftermath. In verbatim-theatre, professional actors rescue Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal witnesses from dusty archives, allowing them to speak to a contemporary audience. Coranderrk now allows all readers that same access.
Includes bibliographical references and index.