The great Australian silence: Aboriginal theatre and human rights

Maryrose Casey

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The Aboriginal struggle for human rights

For over 200 years Aboriginal people have fought for basic rights.In their struggle, the question of cultural respect and the right to live within their own traditions and law have been critical. From the first European colonial settlements in the late eighteenth century, Aboriginal Australians were denied humanity, let alone human rights, and over time they have faced seizure of their land, forced restriction to reserves and missions as well as massacres and punitive campaigns.1Until the late 1970s, under various government legislations, Aboriginal people were explicitly denied rights of movement, rights to own property, the right to marry, rights to free association and the right to receive wages for their work. They had no recourse when their communities were massacred or forcibly relocated and enslaved, or when women and children were kidnapped and violated. They were also denied the right to speak their languages, practise their traditional spirituality, and live by traditional law.2
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTheatre and Human Rights after 1945
Subtitle of host publicationThings Unspeakable
EditorsMary Luckhurst, Emilie Morin
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Pages 74-89
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-137-36230-8, 9781137362308
ISBN (Print)9781137362292, 978-1-349-57874-0, 9781349578740
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • William Stanner
  • Great Australian Silence
  • war of conquest
  • human rights discourses
  • theatre and performance
  • Aboriginal People
  • Aboriginal Theatre
  • Wrong Skin
  • Aboriginal Culture
  • Royal Commission


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