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First Australians – Episode 1, They Have Come to Stay (2008)

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clip 'Can you imagine?'

Original classification rating: PG. This clip chosen to be PG

Clip description

On 25 January 1788 the First Fleet enters Sydney Harbour. Narrator Rachel Perkins and historian Professor Marcia Langton of the Yiman-Bidjara Nation convey the Indigenous point of view of this event. Emeritus Scholar Inga Clendinnen describes attempts by the Aboriginal people and the British soldiers to meet on peaceful terms.

Curator’s notes

Langton’s use of the phrase ‘can you imagine’ is typical of her style of historical interpretation throughout the series, encouraging the audience to really think about how it would feel to be an Aboriginal person witnessing the landing of the First Fleet. The once-stale drawings and images of first encounters between black and white in Australia are given new meaning in light of the historical context given by Langton and Clendinnen. The inclusion of a peaceful encounter shows the attempt at a balance in the stories presented in the series and that it’s not all about violence and destruction.

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