The Secret Country: The First Australians Fight Back


The secret history of Australia is a historical conspiracy of silence. Written history has long applied selectivity to what it records, largely ignoring the shameful way that Aboriginal people were, and continue to be, treated.

Because Aboriginal people had not cultivated the land they were seen by British colonists as having no proprietorial rights to the land. They had no treaty and therefore no rights under British colonial rule. Little of their resistance is recorded.

John Pilger tells of their struggles as they were driven from their lands and he follows events throughout this century as they relate to Aboriginal rights.

Statement by John Pilger

"The Secret Country was my first film on Indigenous Australia. I look at it these days and what shocks me about it is that virtually nothing has changed. Please keep that in mind as you watch the film.

"I knew almost nothing about the first people of my own country until I left Australia in my twenties and went to London to work. My London newspaper sent me back to Australia to find out the secret and shocking truth - which is that 'we' who are the majority in this country bear the same responsibility as the white minority in apartheid South Africa...

"One last thing to remember please. Australia has two distinctions: one, its extraordinary ancient terrain and two, its extraordinary original people. The rest is derivative and so often exploitative. If that doesn't humble and anger us, it should."

John Pilger

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John Pilger - Presenter
Preston Clothier
Kevin Kearney
Ray Henman
M - Mature

Written by John Pilger.

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Harvard citation

Korff, J 2019, The Secret Country: The First Australians Fight Back, <>, retrieved 15 June 2021

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