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Gordon Bennett

Couldn't Be Fairer - 1994

synthetic polymer paint on wood
40.0 x 30irregular c
Price Realised: $6,500.00

MP #298


Provenance

Sutton Gallery, Fitzroy Melbourne Vic

Harvison Gallery, WA

Private Collection, WA

Exhibited

Gordon Bennett, Mirror Mirror (The Inland Sea) 24th September - 19th October 1994, Sutton Gallery, Fitzroy Melbourne Vic

Glued to the back of this painting is page 184 from the book Blood On the Wattle by Bruce Elder published in 1988. An edited excerpt reads as follows:

 

'Of the Queensland Police Force it is impossible to write with patience. It is enough to say of it that this body, organised and paid for by us, is sent to work which its officers are forbidden to report in detail, and that a true record of its proceedings would shame us before our fellow countrymen in every part of the British Empire. When the police have entered on the scene, the race conflict goes on apace. It is a fitful war of extermination waged upon the blacks, something after the fashion in which other settlers wage war upon noxious wild beasts.... From the Queenslander Newspaper.

 

Well known Aboriginal activist Mick Miller made a movie called Couldn't Be Fairer about the conditions of Aborigines in Queensland in the 1980s. In the movie one Aboriginal recorded his experiences with the local police force.

 

They threw me to the ground, they kicked me and busted my toungue. No whitefellers get locked up here, its all blackfellers. Chook Henry he got a flogging from the coppers too. They gave him a hiding and when he was knocked to the ground they pissed on him. 

 

F.J. Gillen, 'an expert on Aborigines' was asked at a Senate Select Committee meeting on the Aborigines Bill in 1899, whether a black and white infant were equal in the matter of intelligence. He replied that they were, at that period of life. But even if an Aborigine were to be a graduate of a university, and returned to his place of origin, he would revert to barbarism.