No Australian today is responsible for what happened on our colonial frontier. But we are responsible for not acknowledging what happened. If we do not, our integrity as a nation is flawed and we are shamed as a people for perpetuating a lie.

How we respond as a nation will reflect on our own maturity. British colonisation of this island continent resulted in several thousand whites being killed, and an enormous Indigenous death toll in Queensland alone approaches the number of Australians killed during the First World War. When the nation really understands the humanity and suffering of Aboriginal Australians, their spirited and justifiable defence of their territory, and give full recognition of frontier crimes, along with their mistreatment ‘under the Act’ since then, then we can speak of truly genuine reconciliation and, truly, a more national spirit. The incredible part of all of this is that Aboriginal Australians have survived and twenty-first-century Australia will be the richer for them taking their rightful place in our national identity.

Contributed by Sue Norman published in 2015.