Sir Paul Hasluck Books

Shades of Darkness

An account of Aboriginal affairs during the period 1925-1965 published by Melbourne University Press, 1988.
by Paul Hasluck

Publication Details:
Melbourne University Press, 1988
Paperback 154 pp
ISBN: 0 522 84362 X

Cover notes:
"Sir Paul Hasluck is well qualified to review Aboriginal policy and administration over the period 1925-65. His book is not a polemic but a historical narrative and provides a background to the vexed condition of Aboriginal affairs today. The author's aim is to correct some of the misunderstanding about the policy of assimilation which was adopted by all Australian governments until the late 1960s.

The author, as Minister for the Territories from 1951 to 1963, played a large part in improving administration of the Northern Territory and in co-ordinating Australia-wide measures for the benefit of Aborigines. He also looks forward to the next century, making some criticisms and expressing misgiving about current tendencies. He espouses the case for full legal entitlements for Australian Aborigines as Australian citizens and their full social acceptance as fellow Australians. As the title implies, the book reveals shades of darkness rather than stark contrast and opposition between black and white.

Professor Geoffrey Blainey, in his Foreword, claims that Sir Paul's book 'will ultimately be seen as one of the most illuminating ... also one of the calmest in a field where indignation reigns. After reading his book many may well conclude that the increasing denunciation of Australia for its treatment of Aboriginals in the period 1925-65 could well be based as much on the self-righteousness and ignorance of today's critics as on the undoubted evils and errors committed in the past'."

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