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ERIC Number: EJ1080265
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 13
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0311-2543
Bringing up Harry Penrith: Injustice and Becoming Burnum Burnum
Ramsland, John
Education Research and Perspectives, v31 n2 p94-106 2004
"The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations" recognizes Harry Penrith's ironic public declaration as Burnum Burnum on 26 January 1988, the official Bicentenary celebration day of the white invasion, settlement and occupation of Australia: "We wish no harm to England's native people, We are here to bring you good manners, refinement and an opportunity to make a 'Koompartoo,' a fresh start." He is the only Australian Aborigine activist to be recognized and appear thus far in this renowned publication. His words were articulated on the heights of the White Cliffs of Dover near Folkestone Harbour, England, at dawn with the sun still slightly hidden below the horizon. BBC cameras rolled and captured the symbolic media event. Burnum's symbolic invasion of Great Britain was a publicity triumph and most probably the defining moment of his life. This article traces Harry Penrith's life from his birth on January 10, 1936 in New South Wales to growing up as part of the "stolen generation" of the 1930s with no family, no ancestry, no cultural tradition to his time at Bomaderry Children's Home and Kinchela Boys' Home while telling the story of how he came to call himself "Burnum Burnum."
University of Western Australia. 35 Stirling Highway Crawley, Perth, 6009 Australia. Tel: +61-8-6488-2388; Fax: +61-8-6488-1052; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A