Irish Travellers and Aboriginal People Share the Same Plight in the Modern World

Though they inhabit opposite sides of the world, according to prominent academics at Melbourne University, Indigenous Australians and Irish Travellers share a similar history of discrimination, poverty and marginalisation. Indigenous Australians and Irish Travellers might be separated by twelve thousand miles and thousands of years of separate history, but today they share a common story.

Brian Nyinawanga


All the fuss—real and concocted—over the citizenship status of members of federal parliament, brought to mind an episode from 21 years ago—trying to prove the nationality of an Aboriginal artist applying for a passport.

Brian Nyinawanga was a singular artist as a painter and sculptor, and came from the “stone country” of central Arnhem Land. There’s no whitefella record of his birth—1937 or 1935 according to various accounts—but it was out bush. Although his family had affinities with relations at the Milingimbi mission and the government post of Maningrida, his birth was never formally registered at either place. Indeed his name never appeared on the Register of Wards— notoriously nick-named the “stud book”—the Native Welfare department’s record of Aboriginal people until the 1970s.


Stan Grant: It is a ‘damaging myth’ that Captain Cook discovered Australia

Who would have thought the mere suggestion that Captain Cook did not in fact discover Australia would be so controversial?

It seems to have taken some people by surprise, the idea that people were here for more than 60,000 years before the Endeavour dropped anchor.

What were we doing all that time, just waiting for white people to find us?

And to dare challenge this “discovery”; how impertinent. I can hear someone saying “know your place”.

It has certainly ignited a debate and that is a good thing. History is not dead, it is not past or redundant, it is alive in all of us: we are history.

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Fresh focus highlights US-Yolngu connection

Australians will be the first to see new works from a major US exhibition charting seven decades of Yolngu bark painting in northeast Arnhem Land that is expected to visit cities including New York, Los Angeles and Washington DC between 2020—22.

The show, entitled Madayin, a Yolngu word that combines concepts from beauty, law and moral virtue, will launch in Adelaide in 2019 with a display of freshly commissioned works from Buku Larrnggay, the famous art centre in Yirrkala on the Gove ­Peninsula.

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Merrikiyawuy Ganambarr-Stubbs

What is a Makarrata?

Australia is one of few Commonwealth nations not to currently have a treaty or treaties with its Indigenous people, despite ongoing calls for a settlement.

The term Makarrata has long been proposed as an alternative name for the treaty process in this country. However, many people have only become familiar with it since the Uluru Statement from the Heart was released in May.

That statement, and a final report to the government, came after the Referendum Council held 13 regional forums to discuss constitutional change and try to reach a consensus.

These two documents rejected the idea of minimalist or symbolic changes to the constitution.

Instead, they called for a constitutionally enshrined First Nations voice to parliament, along with a Makarrata Commission “to supervise a process of agreement-making between governments and First Nations and truth-telling about our history”.

Makarrata was also the theme for this year’s Garma Festival, and part of its tagline, “Go! Bukuluŋdhun Makarrata wu,” which translates to: “Come! Let’s gather together for Makarrata.”


RIP Dr. G Yunupingu

Award winning Indigenous Australian singer-songwriter has passed away in the Northern Territory, aged 46, after a long illness.

Singer songwriter Dr G Yunupingu has died in Darwin, aged 46.

Dr Yunupingu was a multi-award-winning, internationally recognised artist, who lived in his home community of Galiwin’ku, in remote northeast Arnhem Land.

He was born blind, and grew up a member of the Yolngu Gumatj clan.

In recent years he spent significant amounts of time in Darwin for medical care, including an admission to hospital that highlighted the experience of remote-living Indigenous people in the health system.

Yunupingu died at Royal Darwin Hospital about 5pm on Tuesday. His family are expected to be offered a state funeral.

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New map records massacres of Aboriginal people

After years of painstaking research, an online map marking the massacres of Aboriginal clans across Australia’s colonial frontier has launched.

More than 150 sites have been recorded along the east coast, where violent attacks on Aboriginal people took place for decades after the First Fleet arrived.

Historian and conjoint Professor at the University of Newcastle Lyndall Ryan believes it will be one of the most comprehensive maps of the Frontier Wars ever produced.

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