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Frontier Conflict explored in Museum book

7 FEBRUARY 2003

The National Museum of Australia continues to explore the controversial issue of armed conflict between European settlers and Aborigines with the publication of Frontier Conflict: The Australian Experience, to be launched at the Museum in Canberra next Monday, February 10.

The book presents essays by leading historians with widely different historical and political perspectives on the hotly contested debate about the extent of conflict and violence in Australia's past.

Based on a landmark two-day conference held by the Museum in December 2001, the book is edited by Bain Attwood, senior research fellow at the Australian National University's Centre for Cross-Cultural Research and Stephen Foster, professor of Museum Studies, Heritage and Collections at the ANU and the National Museum.

Contributor and Museum critic Keith Windschuttle argues that Australian historians have doctored evidence and invented incidences of massacres. Other contributors analyse the evidence, discussing how memory shapes our view of the past and conflict becomes part of the national story.

Frontier Conflict: The Australian Experience also includes contributions from historians Geoffrey Bolton, Graeme Davison, Raymond Evans, Tom Griffiths, John Mulvaney, David Roberts, Lyndall Ryan and Henry Reynolds. Manning Clark Professor of History at the ANU, Ann Curthoys, has written a new chapter on how the current debate is about the very "moral basis of Australian society".

"Along with the Contested Frontiers exhibit in the Museum, I hope this book will contribute to a wider understanding of relationships between Indigenous and other Australians," said National Museum Director Dawn Casey.

Frontier Conflict: The Australian Experience, will be launched by Professor Stuart Macintyre, Dean of Arts, University of Melbourne, at 12.30pm next Monday, February 10, at the National Museum of Australia.

"The National Museum's conference on Frontier Conflict was consistent with its intention to encourage debate. The treatment of Frontier Conflict is necessarily an important part of the Museum's Gallery of First Australians," said Professsor Macintyre. "The essays in this book reveal the variety of views and approaches taken by scholars to the history of Frontier Conflict, and does credit to the Museum."

For further information, contact Marrtin Portus: (02) 6208 5351, 0409 916 481 or email m.portus@nma.gov.au . The public can order copies from the Museum's shop on (02) 6208 5222.