Bells Falls Gorge - An Interactive Investigation HTML version
The National Museum of Australia has a display area on the nature of the contact between Aboriginal people and those who arrived after 1788 and moved into frontier areas.
The contact varied from place to place: it could involve conflict or cooperation. It is important for our understanding of Australian history to look at both these responses. Displays in the Museum show this variety of responses.
However, there has been controversy about one of the sections, the 1823-1825 'Wiradjuri War' in the Bathurst area. One critic has declared that this display 'is a complete fabrication'.
(Keith Windschuttle, 'How not to run a museum: People's history at the postmodern museum', Quadrant, September 2001)
However, one supporter of the display has disagreed, and asserted that viewers of the display 'will not have been seriously misled about the general truth' of the situation.
(Graeme Davison, 'Conflict in the museum', in Bain and Attwood & SG Foster (eds), Frontier Conflict: The Australian Experience, National Museum of Australia, Canberra, 2003, page 211)
The display raises issues about how we know what we know.
You can now take a tour of this display and decide for yourself what you think. If you want you can simply take the tour, and make up your own mind just from what you see there. Or, if you want to analyse the display further, you can call up a set of criteria and questions that will help you.
Finally, you can look at some of the conclusions of observers, and decide for yourself what you think about the display.