Clandestine dismemberment: reality behind invasion of Shoalhaven and South Coast NSW

UOW seminar unravels the invasion of Shoalhaven and South Coast NSW two centuries ago and its impact on Indigenous communities

Clandestine dismemberment: The reality behind the invasion of Shoalhaven and South Coast NSW

NAIDOC week brings all Australians together to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It gives us the opportunity to reflect on the history of the country and learn more about the Indigenous communities and their importance in shaping Australia.

This year is especially significant for the Indigenous communities residing in the Illawarra and South Coast as it marks the 200 year anniversary of the invasion by Alexander Berry. He set up a camp on Cullunghutti and invaded Aboriginal lands to expand the British Empire.

Dr Marlene Longbottom from the University of Wollongong (UOW) is a Yuin woman from the Jerrinja Aboriginal Community and is Associate Professor with the Ngarruwan Ngadju First Peoples Health and Wellbeing Research Centre at the University.

The seminar will see the launch of Ngarruwan Ngadju’s Web’nYarn seminar series, Dr Longbottom will co-present the seminar with Michael Organ, a former archivist at the University who has published archival material on the Illawarra and South Coast Aborigines 1770-1850, and has a special interest in the early colonial history of the region.

The Web’nYarn brings to light the collaborative work of Dr Longbottom and Mr Organ who have shared yarns over the past three years, to tell another story of Berry.

“As history is written, Berry is portrayed as a pioneer, somewhat of a hero of the frontier, a white man who was burdened with the expansion of the British Empire. However, there is another part to Berry, that is often overlooked and perhaps even unknown,” Dr Longbottom said.

“This year’s NAIDOC theme of ‘Get Up, Stand Up, Show Up’ is fitting as it gives us the opportunity to provide background and context from an Indigenous and historical perspective.

“Somewhat similar to that of Berry’s involvement in the exhumation of Aboriginal people.”

In this seminar, Dr Longbottom and Mr Organ will analyse the implications of Berry’s participation in the underground exhumation of body parts through what they term -“clandestine dismemberment”.

Clandestine Dismemberment: Alexander Berry and the Indigenous Body will broadcast on Thursday 7th July 2022 from 12 pm – 1 pm. Attendees can register for free via this link.

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