The purpose of the initiative is to acknowledge the long, complex (and important) history of lawful relations between Indigenous and Anglo-Australian laws and peoples. The Law School acknowledges that Anglo- Australian law is marked by refusal and violence, and has often been found wanting, when asked to meet with Indigenous laws. But we also want to recognise that Indigenous peoples in Australia have resisted, argued with and transformed the law we teach and learn every day in the MLS Building.
This initiative introduces to the teaching spaces selected images of meetings, or encounters, between laws that have been driven by Indigenous peoples, often with Anglo-Australian lawyers working alongside or for them. Prof. Mark McMillan commenced the wallpaper project when he was with us at MLS, and we are pleased and proud to bring it to life. The placement of these images, accompanied by explanatory captions that tells the story of the particular encounter, is intended to provide a constant presence to engage students, teachers and visitors in shared stories and histories; and to think about how we might take responsibility for our own law in the past, and into the future, in our studies and subsequent practice. The teaching space where the images are to be located – regardless of the topic being taught – we hope will give rise to questions around particular histories, law/s and lawful relationships to the land on which we teach and learn.
We would also note that the activity of establishing the wallpaper project has in itself involved an engagement of lawful relations. For each image, we have of course not only addressed the necessary legal permissions, but also engaged in protocols of seeking permissions from the Indigenous peoples and their descendants whose stories are told in the images.
The Classroom photo murals are located across the Law School building to offer students, lecturers and other visitors to the building the opportunity to engage with these murals and consider the issues faced by Indigenous peoples and the law within their teaching, events and/or studies.
Images of the wallpaper and further details can be found at the below links.
For any further information about this project please contact Associate Professor Ann Genovese.
Mabo Plaintiffs and witness with their Lawyer
Lecture theatre 102
A group of Aboriginal men at Coranderrk Station, Healesville
Student Freedom Riders
Pastor Doug Nicholls leads Aboriginal people from Lake Tyers to Parliament House in Melbourne, 23 May 1963