The Australian Wars premiered on SBS on Wednesday 21st September 2022, this series directed and presented by filmmaker Rachel Perkins, reveals the truth of Australia’s past.

The British claim to the Australian continent, that disregarded First Nations peoples’ sovereignty and their custodianship of country for thousands of years, set in train brutal conflicts that unfolded for more than 100 years. Over three episodes, Rachel journeys across the continent to explore the breadth of warfare, strategy, and forceful resistance that occurred. The lives of Aboriginal warriors, women and children, military men, governors, and settlers are illuminated as they grapple with the forces of war. It’s also an exploration of the here and now, the legacy of war, and how Australia today engages with this truth.

The Australian Wars presents a compelling awakening to an Australian history not commonly known or understood. Dramatic reconstructions combined with interviews with historians, Elders, descendants of warriors, and survivors, bring this sweeping story to life.

In recognition of the documentary’s immense educational value, Blackfella Films and SBS Learn have collaborated with Culture is Life, to publish curriculum-aligned education resources about the Frontier Wars.

We recognise that the content in the series and resources is sensitive and will evoke strong emotions in viewers. These are necessary emotions to face in the process of reckoning with our shared histories. We endeavor to build duty of care, cultural care and cultural safety into all our design and processes with this work, and we aspire to these values being carried forward by all our partners in this critical work of change, justice and healing.

How To Watch

For Teachers

For classroom viewing of whole episodes, please visit ClickView, or your school’s resource centre (for example Wingaru, Informit etc).

For Parents & Caregivers

For personal viewing of whole episodes, please visit SBS On Demand.

Content warning: The documentary is classified M, and the clips selected in this resource are classified PG. The clips are intended to be previewed by teachers before sharing with students.

Before Watching

Before undertaking this unit of work and considering your term planning around this series, please watch this video from Shelley Ware, a Yankunyjatjara and Wirangu woman and one of Culture is Life’s educator behind this resource. In the video, Shelley talks about how to prepare yourself and your students to engage with The Australian Wars within a culturally safe teaching environment and carefully structured learning plans.

Pre-Watching Activity: A Message from Shelley Ware

Education Resources

Full Resources for Years 10-12 by Culture Is Life

‘The Australian Wars’ Education Resources by Culture Is Life

Teaching First Nations Knowledges & Perspectives: A guide to creating safe learning environments

Classroom Ready Clips for Year 9 by SBS Learn

‘Understanding the Frontier Wars’ by SBS Learn

‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Protocols Guide – for Teachers’ by SBS Learn

Press

The Australian Wars Episode 3 featuring Rachel Perkins | The NITV Podcast

Rachel Perkins welcomes Australian War Memorial’s expansion of frontier war exhibits | NITV Radio

The Australian Wars – Episode 2 featuring Rodney Dillon | The NITV Podcast

The Australian Wars Episode 1 featuring Jasmine Seymour | The NITV Podcast

Australia’s history before British arrival at the Australian War Memorial | The Drum

I wasn’t sure I wanted my 16-year-old son to watch ‘The Australian Wars’ by Shelley Ware | SBS

What you need to know about the Frontier Wars | NITV

‘They are burning with a desire for justice’: Rachel Perkins on Australia’s genocidal past | The Guardian

Reclaiming Dyarubbin: “Here we are… we’ve never gone away”| SBS

Why making The Australian Wars was deeply personal for Rachel Perkins | Sydney Morning Herald

What were the Australian Wars and why is history not acknowledged? | SBS

Documentary ‘The Australian Wars’ Challenges Myth Indigenous Australians Didn’t Resist The Brits | The Project

 

*The content on Culture is Life’s website is independent of SBS and the views, products and any services promoted by this website do not necessarily represent the views of, or an endorsement by SBS.


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