Henry Reynolds’ Yen for a Family Secret

henry reynoldsWhen I first read Henry Reynolds’s claim of Aboriginal descent I asked Mr Hobart, since deceased, a man who had spent his life amongst the Tasmanian archives. He had an A-to-Z knowledge of the intricacies of Tasmanian families. “Nonsense!” he said—he spoke like that. He then explained that the family had absolutely no Aboriginal connections. Supposed technicolour genes came from a romantic sounding Islander princess who Henry Reynolds’s grandfather married in Sydney. “Oh,” I said.

In 1999, Reynolds (above) talked to a journalist about his own possible Aboriginal ancestry:

I wouldn’t be in any sense Aboriginal, because my father had the culture of an entirely European Australian. But it would make me an octroon, I reckon, one eighth, if I was anything at all … and it would give you a link with the infinite past of Australia, the sense that your family goes right back and that would be good.[1]

I didn’t hear him say this during the Bolt Trial.

In 2005, he published Nowhere People, “a history of beliefs about people of mixed race”. What had been uncertain for him a few years before was clearer. The book opens with “Family Secrets—Secrets and Silence” and ends with “Family Secrets—Research and Revelation”. Before looking at his secrets and his research, a brief detour into the state of race relations and writing about Aboriginal families circa 2016.

The front cover of Stan Grant’s Talking to My Country lectures prospective buyers that this is “the book every Australian should read”:

I saw my reflection in Australia and felt diminished. Everything told me I wasn’t equal. The whites told the story of this land now; there was no glory for us. There was nothing that redeemed my ancestors. In books [sic] proudly titled The Making of Australia—a key school text of the 1960s—we were dismissed as the “dark-skinned wandering tribes who hurled boomerangs and ate snakes” not fit to be counted in the glorious tale of white men and women who found the land, explored it, and made it a nation.[2]

The 1999 newspaper article about Reynolds already quoted was called “The Man Who Changed Australia”. No one disagreed. The so-called 1960s textbook Stan Grant complains of was written by Walter Murdoch and published in 1917. Probably Grant has never seen a copy, and neither have the historians who borrow the quote from their colleagues’ books. The facts supporting Grant’s stagey passion are wrong. This is the changed Australia, and the angry-faulty, black-white history writing Henry Reynolds has bequeathed us.

In Nowhere People Reynolds links his family with the arguments made elsewhere in his book:

What our [family] story suggests is the need to accept that many Australians are of mixed ancestry and that elsewhere in the world today we would simply be known and accepted as mestizo. That would seem to be obvious enough, but in Australia the intellectual political and moral pressure has been to preserve a clear distinction between black and white and to rigorously police the no-man’s land between the two camps.[3]

Mestizo means a person of mixed parentage, especially the offspring of a Spanish American and an American Indian.[4] His enthusiastic talk of octroons and mestizos suggests a Primo Levi hell of coloured triangles.

In brief, the family story he tells is this. In Sydney, in May 1901, nineteen-year-old Margaret Dawson gave birth to a fatherless son she named John. In September she married George Rule, a thirty-four-year-old clerk who was the grey sheep of a middle-class Tasmanian family. According to Reynolds, between childbirth and marriage the girl travelled to Hobart where John was given up to George’s mother, Sarah. In his grandmother’s care the child was known as John Dawson, then as John Rule. Later he went to live with George’s sister Edith and her husband Henry. The childless Reynolds couple treated him as their adopted son and for the rest of his life he was known as John Reynolds. On the mainland, Margaret and George had a son named Rawdon. George committed suicide in 1915. Widowed Margaret had a daughter, got married again, and had another daughter. She died in 1949. Her first son, John—Henry Reynolds’s father—grew up believing he had no birth certificate. Only in 1959 did he find his New South Wales birth certificate under the name Dawson and it was amended to show his adopted surname.

When Henry Reynolds’s mother and sister began taking an interest in family history, “they had decided that the family secret was that our grandmother may have been part-Aboriginal”. Reynolds sensibly “thought the idea had emerged as a result of their reading Sally Morgan’s My Place”. Soon he too was obsessively committed to the idea. This would make a good play.

Reynolds commenced research with his mind directed towards proving an Aboriginal connection—it fitted well with his professional interests. Australian official documents, the birth, death and marriage certificates used for creating family histories, do not state a person’s race. But that did not concern him for long. On her first marriage certificate Margaret named two deceased and subsequently untraceable parents. Reynolds:

Despite the thorough research that followed, our great-grandparents remained little more than names to which no personal history could be attached. Why this was so is hard to determine. Perhaps they had been born, officially unnoticed in the bush and had never actually married. But why were there no death certificates? We then wondered if our grandmother had deliberately provided misleading information on her wedding certificate. Did she want to prevent others from finding out where she had come from?[5]

Already he is lost in the bush. The problem of coming across untraceable names is not uncommon when tracking working-class or horizontal-class families at the beginning of the last century. The girl may have been orphaned, abandoned or passed to other parents, as Henry Reynolds’s own father was, without leaving a paper trail. Reynolds:

When she married she was only nineteen and a ward of the state, the [marriage] certificate stated, so she may have been an orphan for some time. Perhaps in the name of assimilation she had been taken from her parents and only knew their names. But all attempts to find reference to Margaret in any state or church records proved fruitless.[6]

Nowhere does the document say she was a ward of the state. The assertion is false. Margaret Dawson was nineteen years old, her parents were dead. As a minor and an orphan, she needed to obtain permission from the Guardian of Minors in order to marry—this has nothing to do with being a ward of the state.

The law, which had recently been brought up to date by the 1899 Marriage Act (NSW), specified that parental approval had to be obtained for young people under the age of twenty-one who wished to marry. If the child was an orphan, or the parents were not at hand, then the Guardian of Minors was empowered to investigate the case and give his approval in the place of the parents. The position of the Guardian of Minors was occupied by a responsible person, often a Justice of the Peace. Every marriage certificate was printed with two boxes, one each for the bride and bridegroom, which had to be completed if they were under-age. The blank spaces on Margaret’s form were completed by an Anglican vicar who noted that approval had been obtained from the Guardian of Minors acting in the capacity of “guardian”—it was only in this function that the Guardian of Minors operated as her guardian.

If Australia’s pre-eminent Aboriginal historian is incapable of reading a wedding certificate dealing with his own family history one can only imagine what fantasies white Aboriginal family researchers have bent the function into, probably seeing it as a racist means of controlling their Aboriginal forebears. Now, having started this fantasy, Reynolds placed an empty wurley on it and began heading towards the Stolen Generations:

It seems clear that by the time she met George Rule as a nineteen-year-old, Margaret Dawson had spent at least some time in an institution or a foster home and that she had decided to hide her past. It is just possible that she was one of the first children removed by the New South Wales Protection Board. Hence she provided either incorrect information on her original marriage certificate or incorrect detail on subsequent birth and marriage documents, all of which contain conflicting names and dates.[7]

There is nothing to indicate Margaret Dawson was Aboriginal, though she may have been in an institution or foster home, or not.

Inaccurate as often, Reynolds wrongly claims her documents give “conflicting names and dates”. She gave her parents’ names only twice, on her two marriage certificates—the names of the mother’s parents are not required on children’s birth certificates. When first married in 1901 she named them as John Dawson and Mary Williams. The second time, in 1917, they were listed as William John Dawson and Mary Williams—it is a very slight difference.

As for supposed conflicting dates, the ages she gave on her first marriage certificate and her three children’s birth certificates (the certificate for the fourth child is not yet publicly available) are all consistent and suggest 1882 as her birth year. The only inconsistent, but understandable, change occurred at the time of her second marriage when she lost five inconvenient years. Instead of being a year older than her new, Glasgow-born boundary rider husband, she became four years his junior. Her 1949 death certificate, compiled from information given by her son Rawdon, was more creative. There are completely new names for her parents, her age changes again, and her first child John is ignored. Her family secrets died with her. Reynolds:

Margaret Dawson declared on the [marriage] certificate that she didn’t know what her father’s occupation had been or where she was born.[8]

Far more importantly, which Reynolds does not mention, her own occupation is not indicated. The question of how a nineteen-year-old girl, living in Cleveland Street, Redfern, was supporting herself is certainly of importance. On John’s birth certificate, only months earlier, a similar column was also left blank.

This is the extent of the documentary evidence which Reynolds has handled inaccurately and to which he has added unjustified and unprovable supposition. His book mixes these already faulty elements with questionable memories, gossip, hearsay and wishful thinking. Some of the clearest information he offers is given without any suggestion of its source:

When he was quite small, Dad’s mother, Margaret Dawson, took him to Hobart, left him with his father’s Tasmanian relatives and then returned to Sydney to marry my grandfather … There was no formal adoption. Dad was initially known by his mother’s maiden name—Dawson. Later he was called John Rule, which was his father’s name, and then John Reynolds after he went to live with his aunt and her husband.[9]

In the real world of the early 1900s this is surprising. It does not deal with how a nineteen-year-old girl cared for her illegitimate child and supported herself. Reynolds writes that “At the time many such children were abandoned or killed to avoid the crushing weight of social opprobrium.”[10] There was help. When the same problem arose in our own family tree the young woman was admitted to the Victorian Infant Asylum. She and the child were there for five months while she was taught how to look after a baby—it was a useful lesson. Other young women solved the problem by working, and placing their children with wet nurses.

Reynolds’s scenario means that the transfer of the baby had first to be arranged by letter between Sydney and Hobart, and then the young unmarried mother was sent on a long trip to Tasmania to give her two- or three-month-old boy to strangers. It sounds cruel, and impractical. George’s father died the same month the boy was born and widow Sarah, to whom the baby was entrusted, was seventy years old.

Another scenario is that John Dawson was taken to Hobart by his father when he was three years old.

On March 17, 1903, a newspaper listing of telegrams waiting to be collected at the Hobart Post Office included one for “George Rule, Hobart”.[11] It is likely that George was in Hobart. Reynolds states that Margaret’s second son, Rawdon, was born in 1904 but this is incorrect and he may not have seen the actual birth certificate. Assuming George was in Hobart in March, Margaret was pregnant, and their son Rawdon was born in Melbourne, not Sydney, in July. The couple may have been attempting a fresh start in Victoria and could not cope with looking after a three-year-old and a newborn. It may have been now that the decision was taken to ask George’s family to take in, even if temporarily, Margaret’s son.

Reynolds: It is known that Dad’s father kept up some contact with him and apparently sent him presents on his birthdays. But I have the impression that John had been persuaded by his Tasmanian relatives that George was the black sheep of the family and left Tasmania under a cloud.

George’s problems began with a false beard that led to “a somewhat unpleasant occurrence”. At a public concert in September, 1884, seventeen-year-old, high-spirited George donned the beard and “to the amusement of a few”, was skylarking around the room between songs. Asked to leave, he objected with an “insulting remark”. The boy from a respectable family was cast out of the concert and into an embarrassing newspaper column.[12] In July, 1888, he was in more serious trouble after he and a friend destroyed the shutters of a shop and broke in. Amends were paid and clearly the family were trying to resolve the matter with as little fuss as possible, but the case was of some interest in Hobart. George was sacked from his government job, written about in the newspapers and thoroughly humiliated. The shopkeeper was repaid for the damages and the young man fined forty shillings and costs, in default a month’s imprisonment.[13] Three months later he was again in trouble, charged with “using obscene language”. A newspaper called him “a New Town larrikan”. He did not appear and the court was told the twenty-one-year-old had “left the colony”.[14] He may also be the George Rule who was fined two pounds or twenty-one days in December, 1896, for stealing a sovereign from a man at the Rosehill race track in Sydney when performing card tricks.[15]

Reynolds: However, my impression is that the most immediate concern of Dad’s paternal grandmother, uncles and aunts would have been that he was born out of wedlock, that he was illegitimate, even though his parents subsequently married.[16]

Reynolds may be right, and wrong. Possibly George Rule was not John Dawson’s father. This would explain why young John was first known as Dawson in Hobart. The four months between his birth and George and Margaret’s marriage could easily have been overlooked. George may not have wanted another man’s son to be passed off as his child. It is a possibility that John Reynolds was not a Rule reject but a cuckoo in the nest.

Reynolds: Sadly, George committed suicide in Centennial Park in 1915, when my father was a teenager. I have no idea if Dad knew anything about his manner of death or that he died almost penniless with no assets of any sort.

George Rule’s story isn’t happy. In April, 1915, his body was found in Centennial Park, Sydney. A bottle of the poison Aconite was found in his pocket. At the coroner’s court Margaret gave evidence that George had given her his pocketbook and said, “Give this to the boy. This is the last time you will see me on earth.”[17] When Margaret provided the information for her husband’s death certificate John was listed as his first-born child and the boy’s age was adjusted to make it appear he had been born after their marriage.

What Reynolds does not ask is how his grandmother and eleven-year-old Rawdon lived. Now would have been the obvious time to ask help from George’s Tasmanian family, the people who had possession of her son, John.

Fourteen months later Margaret had another daughter. Again, the father was unknown. Seven months later she remarried. This time the widow gave her occupation as domestic duties. Before he died in 1927 Margaret’s new husband recognised the girl as his “lawful issue”.

Into his family history Reynolds introduces fantasies of his own which seem to have little application to the reality of other people’s lives. When he paints a picture of Edith examining her adopted son, the child who will become his father, it is his obsession with mixed descent that dominates as he transfers his own idée fixe to her:

I imagine that she must have carefully watched her new charge, monitored his progress and wondered if he would manifest any undesirable characteristics; whether he would develop intellectually; and whether he would be weak and unhealthy. At the time both expert opinion and popular sentiment concurred about the degenerative nature of mixed-race people. As it turned out, Edith’s presumed anxiety about John’s health and intellectual development proved unfounded.[18]

Memories, supposedly of long ago, which too happily fit with modern preoccupations are dangerous things. As the interesting question of colour in their family only appears to have arisen after John Reynolds’s death in the 1980s this contribution needed treating with care.

Reynolds: There was another incident that my mother often talked about in later life … Will’s [a friend’s] mother had insisted that he see Isabelle and warn her about marrying John because his mother was a coloured woman.[19]

The event occurred in the late 1920s when his parents were engaged to be married. Surely the helpful Hobart friend and his family had never ever set eyes on Margaret Dawson.

When the historian explores his father’s feelings at the time of his marriage he is especially inventive:

My father made the long journey from Tasmania by boat across Bass Strait and thence by train from Melbourne, arriving travel-worn [in Perth] on the morning of the wedding. I wonder now whether during the many hours spent on the train Dad worried about how he would be received by Isabelle’s family and friends; whether he worried about his appearance, and if he had been keeping out of the sun so his status as a white man could not be doubted. I wonder too what Mum’s friends would have made of him when he got off the train. I imagine that people in Perth were much more attuned to slight visual signs of Aboriginality than were Tasmanians. Were there whispered comments, knowing looks and raised eyebrows when Isabelle introduced her husband-to-be?[20]

Though the bride’s family lived in a working-class suburb, they also appeared in Perth’s social pages. For John to arrive looking “travel-worn” on the morning of his wedding sounds like bad organisation after an engagement which had been announced over two years before. The account of the otherwise well prepared church wedding was published in several newspapers:

The service was fully choral. During the signing of the register, an anthem was rendered by the choir. The bride, who was given away by her father, wore a frock of white georgette and lace, with a lace veil more than 100 years old, held in place with orange blossom. A sheaf of Arum lilies completed her toilette … Mr Max Greayer Cooke (cousin of the bride) was best man. Mr Kemp Robertson was groomsman. The church was decorated by the ladies of St Mary’s choir, assisted by the bride’s friends. After the ceremony Mr and Mrs Greayer held a reception in St Mary’s Hall, during which songs were given by Miss G. Watkin and Miss E. Kaye. The bride travelled in grey coat and skirt, with a hat of pale blue felt, and a fox fur choker.[21]

When they returned to Hobart some six weeks after their marriage an advertisement in the Mercury advised their friends of their return and let them know that they would be “at home September 5 and 7”.[22] As usual John was referred to as the only son of Mr and Mrs Henry Reynolds. If the West Australian family had wondered about his racial background when they first met him they seemingly had had several weeks to fine-tune their observations.

Reynolds: Mary [Henry’s sister] then met by chance an elderly woman who we both remembered from childhood. When asked about the matter, she reported that Edith Reynolds always said that John’s mother was a gypsy. Edith was so insistent and repeated the story so often that everyone assumed the truth was that she was a coloured woman and probably part-Aboriginal. Several other informants mentioned that John was known by some contemporaries as “Sambo”. I have no idea if he knew this or if he was called Sambo to his face. I’m sure he would have been devastated if this was so—the hint of racial derision was too clear.[23]

Edith Reynolds died in 1945. In this unverifiable gossip from fifty or sixty years earlier the term gypsy could mean appearance or behaviour. It seems strange behaviour for a socially conscious woman to so crudely embarrass her adopted son, her sister-in-law and herself in this way. It is an odd word choice. Gypsies have been branded child-stealers; in this case it was Edith who had possession of the other woman’s child. This was not the way to hide family secrets.

In his 1999 newspaper interview Reynolds had said Edith called his father American and Indian. Then there was also a little more detail around one of his other stories. He said his father “had very fuzzy curly hair and as a boy he was known as Fuzzy or Sambo”.[24] Both nicknames, at the time, may have been humorously affectionate, and the past is such an unknown place that he may have been tagged Sambo by classmates who went to a local concert in 1913: “A very pretty feature was a tambourine dance, and ‘Sambo’ (Mr R. Reynolds) was encored for his rendering of ‘Dance Picaninnies’.”[25]

Reynolds: We can be seen, I suppose, as part of what historian Peter Read called “the lost generations”.[26]

The real name of the man I called Mr Hobart was Geoffrey Stilwell, AM. Until he retired in the mid-1990s he was the Curator of the Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts at the State Library of Tasmania. He was an extraordinary man, intensely and accurately well-informed about Tasmanian history, and helpful in so many ways to historians and genealogists. He knew family secrets families had forgotten. When I asked him about Henry Reynolds’s supposed Aboriginality his reply was detailed and knowledgeable. I was unknowledgeable and most of what he said I have forgotten—except for the statement that John Reynolds’s mother had been an Islander princess. It stuck in my memory.

Henry Reynolds set out to assemble his family history already believing he knew what he would find. The oral history he has put together to support his case does not necessarily lead to an Aboriginal grandmother. The words used by Edith to describe her sister-in-law, American-Indian-Gypsy, may not have been used to pejoratively describe an Aborigine. The nicknames Fuzzy and Sambo do not necessarily mean Aboriginal. The family who contacted Henry Reynolds’s mother before her marriage warned that her fiancé had a coloured mother; they did not say Aboriginal.

Reynolds decided he was dealing with secrets and has asserted that the information Margaret Dawson gave on his father’s birth certificate and on the certificate for her marriage to George Rule was deliberately deceptive. Yet the family names of her parents were consistent—Dawson and Williams. Though they cannot be traced they may be accurate.

Investigating the family story, Reynolds encountered an unexpected cousin, the only surviving granddaughter from his grandmother’s mainland family:

Reynolds: Caroline’s father [Margaret’s son-in-law] always said that Margaret was very secretive and a bit of a mystery, although Margaret did claim she was of French extraction, which her family didn’t believe for a moment.[27]

Some years ago in New Caledonia, when I was staying for several months in a small coastal village, the first Monsieur Williams I met was black. Margaret claimed her mother’s name was Mary Williams—the only false note here may be that she has anglicised her mother’s first name. In New Caledonia Williams is a well-known family name. Reynolds took a magnifying glass to look at an old photo of his father and decided he looked Aboriginal. He himself—cue some tunes from South Pacific—as the descendant of settler and Melanesian or Polynesian forebears would not look out of place among les cowboy families in the New Caledonian bush. That’s what the French call the Caledonian cattlemen. The historian is obsessive about race. A sexual history of New Caledonia would be far more interesting.

In the cosmopolitan harbourside city of Sydney the adventurous George Rule may well have met and married a young woman from New Caledonia—the daughter of William Dawson and Mary Williams. The information she gave may have all been true, and wasn’t a secret. Very possibly she was born in 1882 and she did have a French connection.

Simple DNA testing, spitting into a small test-tube which is then processed by international genealogical companies, produces amazing results. Just a thought.

[1] “The Man who changed Australia”, The Courier Mail, 16 January 1999

[2] Stan Grant, Talking to My Country (Sydney, 2016), p. 33

[3] Henry Reynolds, Nowhere People (Camberwell, 2005), pp. 238 – 239

[4] Collins English Dictionary

[5] Henry Reynolds, Nowhere People (Camberwell, 2005), p. 228

[6] Henry Reynolds, Nowhere People (Camberwell, 2005), p. 228

[7] Henry Reynolds, Nowhere People (Camberwell, 2005), p. 230

[8] Henry Reynolds, Nowhere People (Camberwell, 2005), p. 228

[9] Henry Reynolds, Nowhere People (Camberwell, 2005), p. xv

[10] Henry Reynolds, Nowhere People (Camberwell, 2005), p. xvi

[11] “Unclaimed Telegrams”, The Mercury, 17 March 1903

[12] “Larrikinism”, Tasmanian News, 5 September 1884

[13] “Larrikinism at New Town”, The Mercury, 18 July 1888

[14] “City Police Court”, Tasmanian News, 10 October 1888

[15] “Stealing”, The Cumberland Argus and Fruit growers Advocate, 19 December 1896

[16] Henry Reynolds, Nowhere People (Camberwell, 2005), p. xvi

[17] “Found dead in the park”, The Sydney Morning Herald, 20 April 1915

[18] Henry Reynolds, Nowhere People (Camberwell, 2005), pp. xvii – xviii

[19] Henry Reynolds, Nowhere People (Camberwell, 2005), p. xix – xx

[20] Henry Reynolds, Nowhere People (Camberwell, 2005), p. xxi

[21] “REYNOLDS-GREAYER, Western Mail, 19 July 1928

[22] The Mercury, 30 August 1928

[23] Henry Reynolds, Nowhere People (Camberwell, 2005), p. 227

[24] “The Man who changed Australia”, The Courier Mail, 16 January 1999

[25] “Entertainment at Moonah”, The Mercury, 23 June 1913

[26] Henry Reynolds, Nowhere People (Camberwell, 2005), p. 237

[27] Henry Reynolds, Nowhere People (Camberwell, 2005), p. 230

6 thoughts on “Henry Reynolds’ Yen for a Family Secret

  • en passant says:

    Don’t you know that truthful questioning requires a trigger warning as it can cause severe thumb-sucking & denial to maintain the fantasies one would prefer?

    I knew some of my genetic history with 6x different strains, we thought my wife had three strains and my son-in-law is traceable all the way back to before his First Fleet ancestors. I compiled my best guess fantasy – and did find two secrets my parents would never mention. So what? One cannot choose where we came from, but we can to some extent choose our destination.

    Anyway, the grand children did spit in the tube and we find they are indeed proud global mongerels with 11 gene sources. Yes, they are definitely All-Australian, but with no aboriginal genes. Hey, I might just claim some anyway as the test came back with only 93% identifiable. My wife was rather surprised to find she has some Polynesian genes despite being able to trace her own history for 200 years.

    As for my own rapacious ancestors the tests did confirm that I have Viking, Celt, Irish/Welsh/Scots, Norman French, etc ancestors so I must be due a victim’s pension from somebody?

    With so many sources of genes, no wonder I am such a clever, strong, modest person who does not care what strain of human I am, but I did find it a lot of fun finding out.

    • ianl says:

      > ” … Viking, Celt, Irish/Welsh/Scots, Norman French …”

      Only the early Germanic clans could claim to be more of a ferocious, white-man cancerous scourge with such barbaric white privilege (sorry, I’m not all that practised at the correct rhetoric).

      I’ve been reliably informed that the ancient Romans eventually stopped trying to invade east of the Rhine because the early Germanic clans simply refused to stop fighting them, ever. Similarly with Hadrian’s Wall, I think. Or Genghis Khan force-marching entire Turkish clans into the Gobi Desert and then leaving them there.

      🙂 So many victim possibilities, so little time … he laments.

  • jonreinertsen@bigpond.com says:

    The problem with the DNA is how it is calculated. I am 51% Scandi, 19% Scots and 18% Irish, 5% Iberian. Now how you seperate them is a mystery, as My Norwegian and Swedish ancestors colonised all (what are now countries) I do not know. The DNA test relies on people taking the test. The major companies involved do not have enough DNA from Islander and Aboriginal samples to prove anything. There is a persistent family story I have American Indian blood in me, nothing shows up! I also know from research my Norwegian GGG grandfather was a famous Gypsy violinist while being 100% Norwegian. Oral history is at best chinese whispers, and DNA testing has a long way to go. The only reliable thing is proves is, we are actually human!

  • Patrick McCauley says:

    The ordinary psychosis of undiagnosed romantics always has them as descendants from royalty or God … or these days Aboriginal heritage. However the real damage from Reynolds’ romantic historacy is the invention of the Stolen Generations which has itself manufactured further Stolen Generations both from recent history and from contemporary history ( Penny Wong claims that the children of Gay parents have been labelled a Stolen Generation) It has given license to neglectful and possibly, abusive, state policies toward the welfare of all children and to the commodification of children. Reynolds claims he has exposed the genocidal intent of the Australian State. Windschuttle claims the Stolen Generation, if it can be argued to exist at all, was an expression of Australian compassion and Christian responsibility. Reynolds obfuscation around his heritage is further evidence of the deception available to the cultural Marxist, and throws his romantic history of the Stolen Generation into a clearer light.

  • mburke@pcug.org.au says:

    Ever since the publication of Keith Windschuttle’s The Fabrication of Aboriginal History, with his exposé of Reynolds’ cavalier approach to documentation, I’ve been unable to suppress my revulsion whenever I see the man’s name.

  • a.crooks@internode.on.net says:

    “… a link with the infinite past of Australia, the sense that your family goes right back and that would be good.”
    Is this, or is this not, racist? The “infinite past of Australia” leads directly to the infinite past of Africa, just like for the rest of us – but apparently that isn’t quite so good. At the time of white settlement in Australia, Aborigines were recognised as of Caucasian stock – just like us Europeans. I wonder when being Caucasian wasn’t good enough for Aborigines?

Leave a Reply