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The Blainey View – Footprints (1982)


Australian historian Geoffrey Blainey takes us from the southernmost reaches of Tasmania to the edge of the continent in the Northern Territory to tell the extraordinary history of the first humans to live in Australia, from their earliest footprint on the land during the last ice age, until the arrival of white Europeans with their guns and diseases.

Curator’s notes

Footprints was the last of a ten-part series made by the ABC Rural Department and produced by the Big Country unit. This final program of The Blainey View is based on Blainey’s scholarly work, Triumph of the Nomads, a history of ancient Australia, published in 1975. Blainey has always had a way with words and another of his scholarly books with a catchy title is The Tyranny of Distance.

Blainey is one of Australia’s best-known and controversial historians. His outspoken comments in 1986 about Asian immigrants to Australia and his coining of the phrase 'black armband view of history’ in what became known as 'the history wars’ catapulted him into the centre of some of the most heated debates in contemporary Australian society.

It’s interesting to note that despite his obvious regard for Aboriginal Australians, views developed and illustrated through this fine program, nevertheless he has always opposed land rights on which he often seems to share the extreme views of his mining executive friends.