Australia’s untold story of black and white partnerships

This is a site full of stories. And it’s the result of a partnership between a Blackfella and a Whitefella.

Since they met in Echuca on a scorching hot Sunday in January 2013, Stephen Atkinson and Matt Andrews have been sharing stories. Stories they feel that most Australians never get to hear – because they’re about productive partnerships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. Stephen is a Bangergang-Barngarla man based in Cummeragunga. While Matt’s a Whitefella based in Sydney, and his family has Scottish, Irish and English ancestry.

There are many sites, books and films about the Aboriginal experience. And there’s lots about white settlement and how white settlement progressed. There’s very little out there about the many partnerships between whitefellas and blackfellas that have bought this country good things.

The paradigmatic example is in the life of Doug Nicholls. With the possible exception of Koki Mabo, Nicholls was the most significant indigenous leader in terms of political outcomes on the national stage and social outcomes in the local communities. Whilst proudly Yorta Yorta, and strong on Indigenous organisations taking responsibility, his real triumph came through building partnerships. And this is what he publicly urged from his pulpit, in his words:

…we want to walk with you, we don’t wish to walk alone. 1

Throughout these pages you’ll find stories of partnerships. Between Indigenous leaders and missionaries, pastoralists and business people. They’re unexpected moments of hope and friendship in a national history that’s scarred with cruelty and betrayal.

Notes:

  1. Bloodlines: The Nicholls Family http://www.abc.net.au/tv/messagestick/stories/s3014566.htm retrieved 10/02/2013

6 Responses to “Australia’s untold story of black and white partnerships”

  1. Margaret Healy February 14, 2014 at 2:32 am #

    This website and its aim is a great story in itself, folks. Thank you for this.

    Will stay in contact as we take the walk together.

    M

  2. nba即時比分 January 3, 2015 at 12:14 am #

    Nice Blog, thanks for sharing this kind of information.

  3. chez March 21, 2015 at 1:28 pm #

    Looking for information on Ethel Campbell who had a least 5 children the 5th born early in 1968 but was charged as an abandoned child and was put in a home for a few months before being adopted. Thankyou.

  4. Gil Hardwick January 18, 2016 at 1:28 pm #

    I’d love to work with you fellas. Been trying to contact someone over home for a good while. Lot to offer.

  5. Heather Goodall July 5, 2017 at 9:35 pm #

    Dear Stephen and Matt,
    this is a very interesting and important site which clearly reflects a huge amount of work and much passion and dedication. I realise how hard it is to get across all details, but I’d just like to correct your entry on Ellen Giles, which misinterprets my book, Rivers and Resilience, in a way which is important for Ellen’s story. Her mother was certainly Biddy Giles, who was living with Billy Giles, an Englishman, in the 1860s on the Georges River and had taken his name. But Billy was not Ellen’s father. Ellen and her sister where Biddy’s children from her earlier relationship with Paddy Burragalang and they lived with their father, Paddy, who was a southern Dharawal man who came from the Five Islands near Wollongong. Ellen came up north to join Biddy, who had moved back up to the northern Dharawal area apparently when she went to live with Billy Giles. It was Ellen and her sister’s father, Paddy Burragalang, to whom Ellen’s son, Joe Anderson, was referring when he called himself King Burraga and appeared in the 1933 Cinesound News Review which is included in the film, Lousey Little Sixpence. Allison Cadzow and I do have the story all explained in Rivers and Resilience and it makes more sense of the story of all the people in the family. Could you revise your entry? many thanks, Heather

    • MB August 2, 2017 at 3:14 am #

      Will do!

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