Aboriginal violence was "sanitised"

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PUBLISHERS in the 1980s and 1990s sanitised Aboriginal history by censoring accounts of violence, including sexual abuse and infanticide.

Award-winning historical author Susanna de Vries has revealed that her books on early colonial life, based on the memoirs of pioneer women, were allegedly toned down so as not to upset Aboriginal sensibilities.

De Vries said the memoirs of one woman, Louisa Meredith, were allegedly censored by Queensland publishing house Michael White Publishers to remove references to infanticide, tribal warfare, and the rape and removal of women.

The memoirs of the first Aboriginal Justice of the Peace, Ella Simon, were similarly sanitised by Sydney publishers Millennium Books in the late 1990s so that a baby ''stuffed head-first down a rabbit hole and left to die after it fell ill on walkabout'' was allegedly edited to read ''left under a tree to die''.

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