MOVIES: Australia

My wife and I wnet to see this despite the tepid reviews and thought it was one of the best movies we have see in years.

And easily one of the longest. :wink:

Agreed-it was really two movies in one. But I enjoyed it a lot

I thought it was good also… better than the reviews.

meh, I didn’t like it at all. My favorite film of the year has to be either milk or the dark knight(I also have high hopes for The Wrestler)

I got into it but I thought it had a lot of faults. The dialogue was so clunky it was embarrassing – I know that was part of trying to evoke a graphic-novel style but it was way over the top and detracted from the storyline IMO. The portrayal of Autralian society seemed a bit superficial and stereotypical. Even for a comic.

My husband and I finally saw this yesterday, though we had to travel to the next state over to do so, as it is no longer playing anywhere locally.

We both really enjoyed it, despite its length. We loved the cinematography, the musical score, and thought that Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, and the little boy, Brandon Walters (who is a leukemia survivor!) were all well cast. Of course, I would gladly pay to see Hugh Jackman read the phone book… :smiley:

So, I’m watching this movie ‘Australia’ with Nicole Kidman. There are several scenes where Aboriginal children are being rounded up by the police and put into Catholic missions where they are re-educated and, as one of the characters says, “turned into white men.”

The kids are taken to an island where they are not allowed to leave, and the movie is very emotional in the scenes where they are hiding to avoid being taken, and at one point, a Catholic Priest is shown pulling an Aboriginal child away from his adoptive white mother, claiming that the child would be safe and brought up in the way of God, etc.

Nicole Kidman’s character tries to fight the white peoples’ mistreatment of the natives, only to be scoffed at by the aristocratic Europeans, including another Priest.

This is the type of thing my Protestant friends love to throw in my face. Ever since I converted, I’ve had to learn the TRUE stories of Galileo, the Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades, and all the other things that non-Catholics point to as “atrocities committed by the Catholic Church.”

My question is, how accurate is any of the stuff in this movie. Is it all simply dramatization, or were there abuses of this kind committed in Australia. Or was it simply evangelization, which the movie-makers viewed as stripping people of their cultural identity.

Anyone know about this stuff?

I’m sure that one of our Ozzie members will chime in with more accurate information, but what the movie depicts is essentially true–and in fact was not discontinued until 1971, I believe.

Now, movies being movies, the cruelty of it is probably overstated–remember, at the time they thought they were doing these kids a favor–but there is no doubt that this activity took place.

How is a free Catholic education not a favor? :slight_smile:

Like the OP says, there always is the “REAL” story. You really want to trust Hollywood for your Catholic history?

If Australia’s experience with the forced separation of Native children from their families, and relocation to boarding schools where they were “turned white” is anything like what took place in the Canada, then Protestants are likely to be guilty along with Catholics.

(US also had forced boarding schools, but these seem to have been government run, rather than church run)

By forcibly stripping children of their cultures and depriving their families of the right to raise them.

Are we sure that these were Catholic and not Anglican missions? Australia, after all, was a British colony…

A cursory survey of the internet seems to suggest that these missions were run predominantly by the British government, and the Anglican and Moravian Churches.

The history of the Catholic Church is not without its faults. We have had 3 people all claiming to be Pope simultaneously. We have had Popes with mistresses. We made incorrect scientific assumptions.
However, Pope John Paul II did recognize the long held anger over many of these historical errors and he apologized to the world.

That being said, there has never been an error in the faith, for the “…gates of hell shall not prevail against it…”, and typically in debate when you cannot win the arguement you transfer the discussion to the “character of the individual”. Therefore, as you protestant friends bring forth these issues, the response is to acknowledge the facts, put forth the Popes apology and move on.

One point to make is simply, advise your friends that you cannot have the largest church in the world, that has an unbroken chain of succession since Jesus appointed Peter as its first leader over 2010 year ago, and not have some historical issues. However, amazingly through all the issues, the church has grown, so perhaps the Holy Spirit, since that first Pentecost, is truly guiding this Universal Church, this Catholic Church.

Hello all,

I’m an Auzzie so thought I would chime in. Yes, the stolen generation, which involved the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youths taken away from their families and put forcibly into schools or forced to work as housekeepers, cooks or labourers is a horrific event in Australian history. It did continue for a long time and it continues to be a major issue due to its ramifications e.g. families who lost contact with each other and lost their heritage and traditions. This was enforced by the law and conducted by the police and missionaries of many different faiths. History details that these people thought that they were improving the lives of the Aboriginal children (obviously I do not share this view). The children were not able to practice their heritage and some never saw their parents/family again.

A very moving Australian film that looked at this history was “Rabbit Proof Fence” which follows siblings who escape custody and try to return to their family. It is very emotional film but does capture what happened.

If you are interested further you can research into Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s apology to the Stolen Generation. This apology caused a bit of controversy but I won’t go into it here.

These events are slowly being addressed by the Australian government, namely with health care and education to reduce poverty and increase ATSI life expectancy.

Hope this brief history helps.

Kind regards,

That’s just what I was thinking.

Here in Ireland Protestants were doing the same offering food and education if you renounced your faith. In at least one workhouse school, in 1882, this led to violence against children.

Oh yes. It was bad. As a Canadian I absolutely acknowledge it. Unfortunately it was normal to think at the time that the Native’s should be assimilated. The popular phrase was that the schools were “to take the Indian out of the Indian”. That was not a proud part of our history.

The movie, “The Rabbit Proof Fence” is factually incorrect. All you have to do to determine that the movie incorrectly protrayed what happened is to read the book. The girls were not taken while ‘happily playing with their friends’. They were ostracised by the full-blood kids and were ‘running around’ with white men in the area, a euphemism for having sex with them. They were picked up by one policeman on horseback, not put in a cage on the back of a ute. They were not given burlap sacks to wear. The film producer played fast and loose with the truth when telling this ‘true story’.

The truth is that Neville did not take these three girls under some blanket policy to steal all half-caste children. Indeed, Windschuttle says he removed only one other child in 1931 from all camps in Western Australia.

And as I’ve reported, Neville told the 1936 Moseley Royal Commission into the treatment of Aborigines: “The children who have been removed as wards of the Chief Protector have been removed because I desired to be satisfied that the conditions surrounding their upbringing were satisfactory, which they certainly were not … “

What concerned Neville was their welfare - which is precisely what concerns us still about such children, and has us remove more today than Neville ever did.

Hello Linda,
Thank you for publishing the article online- it’s a very interesting read. I would like to hear some Australian films you have watched that more accurately depict this chapter in history- I have only heard/watched a few.

While movies may hold inaccuracies, the important note is that the Stolen Generation did happen. Movies may not be the best medium to represent the truth and it may be more appropriate to consult history books… I only mentioned Rabbit Proof Fence due to the original poster’s experience with “Australia” the film.

On a side note, its ANZAC day (Australian and New Zealand Army Corp). Lest we forget.

Many of the central facts - that they WERE taken entirely without their consent or that of their parents, taken many hundreds of miles from their homes and families, and were so miserable that they broke out and escaped not once but twice, walking back those many hundreds of miles in very tough circumstances each time - are true. As are a lot of the more general restrictions on Aboriginals at the time that are portrayed, such as not being able to move or marry without consent of the Protector of Aborigines, being punished for using native language and the like. Under no circumstances are these sort of restrictions on human liberty OK.

Moreover it is also true that Daisy, the oldest girl, and one of her sisters, survived to ripe old age, unlike most of their contemporaries who weren’t so fortunate as to ever return to their homes or families. Many never had the opportunity, but instead were cruelly lied to and told that their families were dead and that they were orphans. How, under any imaginable justification, is it OK to lie to a child and break his or her heart into the bargain in such a way?

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