Letter to the Editor - I doubt that the Stone Age hunter-and-gatherer culture of the Aboriginals achieved anything remotely comparable in its long occupation of this continent
To The Australian As a graduate of the University of Melbourne, I am outraged that Duncan Maskell, the present vice-chancellor, has wrongfully dishonoured the achievements of the university since its foundation ("Lessons of Garma shape the future", 14/8). His claim that the university's "history pales into insignificance compared with the thousands of years of history and culture" of Aboriginals, put forward without any substantiating evidence, is sentimental and populist rhetoric. The university has a distinguished history of achievement by its scholars since its foundation, including discoveries of worldwide importance. Moreover, its history extends back through the European university tradition to the learning centres of the ancient world, Egyptian, Greek and Roman. I doubt that the Stone Age hunter-and-gatherer culture of the Aboriginals achieved anything remotely comparable in its long occupation of this continent. Maskell shows no awareness of the powerful case that has been brought against Aboriginal constitutional recognition by a number of our leading intellectuals. Has he read Keith Windschuttle's books, for instance?
Nigel Jackson, Belgrave, Vic