The National Gallery of Victoria’s Colony and Difficult History

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


A recent exhibition staged by the National Gallery of Victoria Australia can be regarded as an expression of the international difficult histories boom. In large part, its representation in Colony of Australia’s black history is in keeping with the Manichean accounts that have come to dominate in the realm of popular culture and is a function of its decision to represent the past in forms that are primarily memorial and performative rather than historical and pedagogical. I argue that any serious attempt to come to grips with this nation’s difficult Aboriginal history requires its settler peoples to rethink rather than merely reject previous settler accounts of the past, and I contend that this task demands the practice of both scholarly history and local Aboriginal community history, which provide more complex accounts of the past.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-116
Number of pages18
JournalAustralian Historical Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2019

Cite this