The Saturday Paper’s Rick Morton made gross errors in defending Dark Emu author Bruce Pascoe from my criticism that Pascoe wrote fake history and made dodgy claims that he was Aboriginal.
But in my response yesterday I missed one critical blunder from Morton that proved what he was trying deny – that Pascoe misquoted his sources.
Peter O’Brien’s response should embarrass both Morton and Pascoe, but I realise now that many on the Left are no longer interested in the truth:
The Saturday Paper has a front page article titled ‘Bolt, Pascoe and the Culture Wars’. The author, Rick Morton, claims two days were spent (emphasis added) “at the National Library of Australia reviewing the original documents and explorer accounts in general. They are – at every instance – quoted verbatim and cited accordingly in an extensive bibliography at the end of Pascoe’s book.”
However, Morton gives just one example of this — and that one example is false.
He says: “Thomas Mitchell also noted a town of 1,000 people in his journals, and the quote is attributed to Mitchell in Dark Emu at the bottom of page 15…”
But the explorer’s actual quote contains no reference to a population of 1,000. That appears in Pascoe’s own words: “He (Mitchell) counts houses and estimates a population of 1,000.”
To repeat, those words, contrary to Morton’s claim of “verbatim and cited accordingly”, do not appear in Mitchell’s journal. At this link readers will find the entire 1839 journal, available to be searched for key words by the simple expedient of a CNTRL + F search. Conduct such a search of the text and you have to wonder just what Morton or his researcher was doing over the course of those two days in the stacks.
In fact, as I believe I have shown, unequivocally, in Bitter Harvest, at no time did either Sturt or Mitchell on any of their expeditions encounter a village of 1,000 people.
Yet again we see how Pascoe frequently ‘quotes verbatim’ but adds his own interpretation or context. Here is another example, from page 20: “When Mitchell arrived at the Victorian Grampians in 1836, he saw ‘a vast extent of open downs … quite yellow with Murnong’, and ‘natives spread over the field digging for roots’.”
I can’t speak for anyone else but what this passage conveyed to me is a multitude of natives industriously working a huge field. If you read Mitchell’s journal, as I have, we find his September 14 entry records: “…what interested me most after I had intersected the various summits was the appearance of the country to the eastward, through which we were to find our way home. There I saw a vast extent of open downs …”
Unfortunately, we have to wait until the September 23 before we encounter the ‘natives spread over the ground digging for roots’: “…as we proceeded we saw two gins and their children at work separately on a swampy meadow; and, quick as the sight of these natives is, we had travelled long within view before they observed us. They were spread over the field much in the manner in which emus and kangaroos feed on plains, and we observed them digging in the ground for roots”
So, two Aboriginal women and their children in a swampy meadow. Not a multitude harvesting a crop in a vast extent of open downs after all.
Dark Emu is littered with such deceptions, but you’ll have to buy Bitter Harvest to enjoy them.
Morton also says, in relation to correspondence between Bolt and TheSaturday Paper: “In his rebuttal, the Herald Sun columnist has been forced to accept there were incredibly sophisticated settlements and seed-milling operations …”
Here is Andrew Bolt’s rebuttal by way of response to Morton, See if you can find the columnist accepting ‘there were incredibly sophisticated settlements and seed milling operations’. Moreover, this assertion is simply not true, as any complete reading of Sturt or Mitchell will attest.
Morton’s representation of my views in my letter to him – amplified in my later response – is as bizarrely false as many of Pascoe’s misrepresentations of his own sources.
We are in a wild new world where facts do not count, at least to the Left. It’s the side and the story.
Will Morton correct his mistakes in the next Saturday Paper? I would bet no. This isn’t about truth.
Far from Mitchell finding an Aboriginal town of 1000 people, what he records suggest encampments much smaller:
… from what I saw of the interior country beyond the Darling. The native population is very thinly spread over the regions I have explored, amounting to nearly a seventh part of Australia. I cannot estimate the number at more than 6000; but on the contrary, I believe it to be considerably less…
The number of this tribe, amounted to about twenty. I remarked among them an old woman, having under her especial care, a very fine looking young one…
Early this morning, the natives were heard hailing us from the woods,and as soon as I had breakfasted, I advanced to them with Burnett. They were seventeen in number…
It was clear, the man was sent for another tribe, as “The messenger of blood and brand.” Still their numbers did not exceed sixty…
Near the head of the river is the tribe of “Bultje,” composed of many intelligent natives, who have acquired a tolerable knowledge of our language; the number of this tribe is about 120…
When attempting to make their escape a line was opened by the blacks, consisting of about 150 in number, who thus appeared at the fugitives’ right and left as they passed. At about 100 yards distance from the scene of this outrage, another strong party of armed blacks was drawn up, doubtless as a reserve,but they took no part in the contest. There could not, we are assured, have been fewer than 300 fighting men present — not an old man was seen among them.
Yet another prominent Aboriginal activist, this time Jacinta Price, has questioned both Pascoe’s claims of Aboriginality and his claims that Aborigines were not hunter-gatherers (as if that were shameful) but “sophisticated” farmers.
I will post a link to Price’s interview on Outsiders when it is up.
With so many Aborigines calling Pascoe out, why do so many on the Left still side with the white man instead? Is this racism?
No video of Price. Instead, this post from her. Where are the Left to join her in condemning cultural appropriation?
All of this demonstrates the utter ignorance surrounding Pascoe and the ABC’s lack of knowledge of traditional Aboriginal culture. To be blunt it is all utterly insulting when anyone with half a brain or someone who actually lives the culture can see right through this story tellers fantasises and embellishments.
Aside from perpetuating the idea that Hunter-Gatherer society was nothing more than simple and primitive Pascoe has no understanding what so ever of what the Jukurrpa (Dreaming) is about. Jukurrpa underpins all of Aboriginal society. Jukurrpa does for Aboriginal people what the bible does for Christians. It explains the creation which for us is ongoing and maintained through ceremony not farming. Jukurrpa provides the law we must live by and most importantly Jukurrpa gives the Hunter-Gatherer a map and detailed understanding of ones country in order to be able to survive in it.
No where within any Jukurrpa stories that I know of is there evidence of farming and agricultural practices. No where within any Jukurrpa stories that I know is there a creator ancestor who practices farming or agriculture with the skills needed to pass down to descendants.
It is insulting that Pascoe attempts to liken our culture to European culture disregarding our own unique and complex way of life which evolved to suit our environment. In fact the only other culture that can be likened to ours is that of the Kalahari Bushmen.
Our traditional culture is under attack by those who are completely removed from it. Even if Pascoe does have Aboriginal heritage it does not make him an expert. No one knows a culture like those who live it and he certainly has never ever lived it. Too often those who have never lived it but claim it go unchallenged or are simply taken on face value particularly by the ABC. This is the danger we face from PC culture, woke culture and cancel culture. It is the perpetuation of lies destroying culture in the name of Political Correctness.
Shame on you ABC for destroying my traditional and my every day Australian culture!
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