It's still hard to believe PR films like the one linked below, from 2.30 minutes in, were made to pave over the heartbreak and lifelong misery dealt out to Aboriginals over the stealing of their land and their children. The narration of is practically gleeful, and these kind of films were shown in cinemas, in schools, in government offices to staff, across Australia and England from the 1930s to the 1960s. Such films were made to convince those concerned by the purposeful destruction of Aboriginal culture and heritage and families that it was done "for their own good."
'Happy HalfCaste Girls In The Orphanage'
The counterpoint of an Aboriginal man detailing their rich lives and cultural lifestyles before the stealing of land and children began is jarring.
Here's the transcript, via The Australian Screen Office :
This clip shows black-and-white archival footage of Indigenous Australians engaged in traditional ceremonial activities, building a shelter, fishing with spears and collecting food. This footage includes narration by Aboriginal activist Mick Miller, who details the treatment of Indigenous people since Australia was colonised by the British in 1788. The second half of the clip shows footage of Indigenous people on a Christian mission in the 1930s. The original narration, included with this footage, claims that the missions are giving Indigenous people 'the benefits of civilisation’ and includes the intertitle 'Happy halfcaste girls in the orphanage’.
Mick Miller, narrator When the British, to use their word, “discovered” Australia, we had already been here for at least 60,000 years. Our culture was rich and complex. Based on a deep spiritual affinity for the land. The land is our mother. It is the source of all life and meaning to us. We were on the continent in small clan groups. We had no need for houses of parliament, or cathedrals, paved roads or fences, but the white man took that as evidence of our backwardness. They called us savages, subhumans. We were shot, poisoned, kept in chains. Our women were raped. They drove us from our land, and they desecrated it. Later, they decided to civilise us, to make us like themselves.
Original narration from Christian mission footage The Australian blacks are a vanishing race no longer. Earnest efforts by those who know and understand them are today bettering the condition of the Aborigines. The blacks are encouraged to live the old free life, but they are given the benefits of civilisation as well. And one big benefit is regular meals. Rations are issued to all who apply, and there’s no reluctance to apply. Some are reluctant to go. Along with the bucks and the youngsters, the women get their food the new way, but they still carry their babies the old way. The piccaninnies take their exercise seriously, even if some of them take it a bit out of time. “Well, how do you like this fella (inaudible), Mary? Too much altogether walkabout (inaudible).” So the good work of the Sacred Heart missionaries turns a primitive people into a happy, healthy community.
Mick Miller In less than 150 years, our ancient civilisation had been destroyed. It was accepted that we were doomed to extinction. We had become marginal people in our own country. Our land was now their land.