Further imagining the settler city: Sarah Pinto, ‘Unsettling the Settler City: Indigenous Commemoration in Central Melbourne’, in S. Pinto, S. Hannigan, B. Walker-Gibbs, E. Charlton (eds), Interdisciplinary Unsettlings of Place and Space, Springer, 2019.


Abstract: Australia’s commemorative landscapes are dominated by markers of the past that marginalise or erase Indigenous peoples and histories. Although evidence of prior and ongoing Indigenous presence fill Australia’s rural and urban spaces, built commemorations typically refer to a colonial and national past without Indigenous peoples. Around Australia, monuments, memorials and other forms of commemoration are focused instead on settler stories of discovery, exploration, pioneering and war. Since the 1990s, however, Indigenous peoples and histories have been brought into some of Australia’s commemorative landscapes. Monuments, commemorative namings, installation art, public statuary, walking trails and other public markings have all been used to commemorate Australia’s Indigenous pasts. These commemorations are not particularly monumental; for the most part, they can be found in the everyday places of parks, roads, bridges and thoroughfares. Taken together, however, they represent an incursion into Australia’s commemorative cultures. This chapter considers the effects of these commemorative incursions and inclusions in the city of Melbourne in the southeast of Australia. It examines the official commemorations of Indigenous histories and peoples that have been built into central Melbourne’s commemorative landscapes since 2000. This chapter argues that these commemorations have unsettled some of the commemorative markers of Melbourne’s settler foundations, and particularly those of the city’s sometime founding father, John Batman.

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