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SBS Australia looks at the country’s troubled past

(Photo: SBS)

Australian public broadcaster SBS is to air a documentary series on perhaps the country’s most defining war – the battles fought on home soil between British colonial forces and the First Nations peoples whose claim to the land they ignored.

The three-part series, The Australian Wars, premieres at 7.30pm on 21 September on SBS and National Indigenous Television (NITV), an SBS channel.

The British claim to the Australian continent, which disregarded First Nations peoples’ sovereignty and custodianship of the land, set in train brutal conflicts that unfolded for more than 100 years.

SBS says The Australian Wars presents a compelling awakening to an Australian history not commonly known or understood. Dramatic reconstructions combine with interviews with historians, Aboriginal Elders, descendants of warriors and survivors to bring this sweeping story to life.

It’s also an exploration of the here and now, the legacy of war, and how Australia today engages with this truth.

The documentary’s presenter, Rachel Perkins, an Arrernte and Kalkadoon woman, said: “The series has been an epic undertaking that has taken years to bring to fruition. My hope is that it is welcomed by Australian audiences and that it contributes to resetting the relationship with First Nations peoples and our nation.”

Kathryn Fink, SBS Director of Television, said: “The Australian Wars exposes truths which may be confronting, but we hope this series helps build a shared understanding and acknowledgement to move our country forward.”

The series will be supported by a multi-platform, network-wide offering that further amplifies and explores the truths, facts, and themes raised in the series.