Australia’s rarely acknowledged history of frontier violence and massacres of Aboriginal people has become part of the permanent First Peoples exhibition at Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre at Melbourne Museum.
Black Day, Sun Rises, Blood Runs is a new film and multimedia project which tells six stories of frontier violence, massacre and resistance from across the state of Victoria, exposing the narratives of violence and grief that sit behind the beautiful and apparently peaceful landscapes captured in stunning cinematography.
“At Museums Victoria we are deeply committed to the process of truth and reconciliation,” said Lynley Marshall, CEO Museums Victoria. “Black Day, Sun Rises, Bloods Runs contains stories hidden from history and are long-overdue to be told.”
“Guided by our inspirational Yulendj Group we are telling these stories with authenticity and sensitivity, to enable all Victorians to move forward in recognition and understanding of the truth of past tragedy.”
A multimedia map, drawn from the Victorian Massacre map, published in 1991 by the Koorie Heritage Trust, locates sites of massacres across regional Victoria, where devastating loss of life occurred as settlers took over the land. Visitors can dig deeper into each site through the interactive display.
Six Indigenous and one non-Indigenous narrators tell stories that have been passed down in their families but often unheard beyond. They include Aunty Esther Kirby (North-west), Isobel Morphy-Walsh (North-east), John Clarke (Western District), Aaron Morgan and Aunty Eileen Alberts (Western District), Rob Hudson and Rhonda Coates [the non-Indigenous storyteller] (Gippsland and East Gippsland).
As with all the content in First Peoples, Black Day, Sun Rises, Blood Runs has been developed in consultation with the Yulendj Group – a group of sixteen respected community members and Elders from across Victoria that have generously shared their knowledge and experience to shape the exhibition into one that represents the diversity, history and pride of Koorie peoples.
“It is a humbling experience to be a part of this,” said Genevieve Grieves, Lead Curator of First Peoples. “It wasn’t easy to hear these stories, or for our storytellers to share them, but it is time for these stories to be recognised and acknowledged. It is the only way that we can start to move towards a space of healing from the past.”
Image: Aaron Morgan and Eileen Alberts feature in Black Day, Sun Rises, Blood Runs (supplied)