Author: Anne Fairbairn AM  PhD (Hon)

My proud ANZAC heritage

My grandfather, Sir George Houstoun Reid KC, who had been Premier of NSW, Prime Minister of Australia, our first High Commissioner to Britain and was also voted into the House of Commons. He is known by many in Australia as the true Father of Federation. However he was always very concerned for the indigenous people, as was his wife Dame Flora Anne Reid (after whom I was named). She would often talk about this to me when I was a child, hence my book ‘Shadows of Our Dreaming” dedicated to the indigenous people of our country, who had lived...

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Muslim Aussie Soul Mates

Dedicated to all Australian Muslims  Almost five hundred thousand, these days  Muslims enrich our country in many ways With their kindness and unique generosity, They are welcomed by many across our country. Some Muslims have lived here undoubtedly For one hundred and fifty years surely Contributing to Down Under constantly Whether with sport, music or superb poetry. I have been invited to Arab countries To speak at so many Universities   About Australia and our poetry, And also to compile an Anthology Of modern Arabic poetry hopefully. I was always invited annually To Baghdad’s Festival of Poetry. I so...

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Mother of Souls

Dedicated to the Memory of Saint Mother Teresa  I remember the darns on your blue-banded sari, your worn brown sandals, your work-worn hands, your bowed figure, your deeply lined face, – the light of joy in your eyes. I asked, ‘Is poverty you strength?’ ‘No’ you answered, ‘poverty is my freedom.’ Moving together among bomb-maimed children – Muslim, Christian, Mandaens – rescued from Baghdad’s shattered streets by Calcutta’s Little Sisters of the Poor, you insisted ‘Christ is each of these broken bodies.’ Wounded or blind, each child responded to your touch with a smile: Together we helped your Sisters....

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Fifty years since the Battle of Long Tan

The recent decision by the Vietnamese Government to restrict the commemoration activities of Australians involved in the Long Tan military operation of 1966 is well understood by many thinking Australians. The Vietnamese Government has refused the Australians commemorations because so many Vietnamese were killed by the Australian and American Forces. This is not to say that the countrymen and women of these unfortunate young Australians who fought and died at Long Tan challenge or discount the efforts they made to fulfil their duties under the Australian flag. According to official figures 245 Viet Cong died while 18 Australians died...

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Appin Aboriginal massacre

It is two hundred years since the massacre at Appin on 17 April  in 1816 of many Aboriginal people by the British settlers called the Appin Aborigine Massacre. When Governor of New South Wales, Lachlan Macquarie and his wife visited the Cowpastures in 1810, they were welcomed by several small parties of the cow-pastures natives who performed an extraordinary ‘Welcome to Country’ song and dance. Yet within a few short years, orders issued by Macquarie would result in the deaths of many Aborigines. When the newcomers took up land grants, they cleared and fenced the land, irrecoverably changing the patterns of hunting and gathering that had been followed by the Dharawal people for tens of thousands of years. Some European settlers formed a close rapport with Aborigines. Charles Throsby of Glenfield was accompanied by Dharawal men when he explored the southern highlands area. Throsby was a persistent critic of European cruel treatment of the Aborigines. Whereas the  mountain natives the Gandangara people had a reputation of being hostile in defence of their people and their land, the Dharawal were peaceful and had no history of aggression. Unfortunately few settlers could distinguish between the two groups. In 1814, Macquarie issued an order in the Sydney Gazette, admonishing settlers in the Appin and Cowpastures area saying ‘Any person who may be found to have treated Aborigines with inhumanity or cruelty, will...

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