Tim Blair


New Criterion



Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Via Tim Blair, via the spiffing new blog from The New Criterion, via Andrew Bolt in the Herald Sun, via Channel 9 we have at last an answer from naughty historian Lyndall Ryan, caught out fabricating Tasmanian history.

What is her defence?

I done it, your Honour, but we all do it.

But on Channel 9's Sunday program, reporter Helen Dalley asked her to explain why she'd said Knopwood was her source for claiming 100 Aborigines had been murdered, when he'd actually recorded only four such deaths.

Ryan: Right. I certainly agree that the Knopwood diaries say that, but I also had another reference referring to a report by John Oxley who was a surveyor who'd been sent down to Tasmania in 1809. He said too many Aborigines were being killed.

Dalley: OK, but how did you extrapolate from his words saying "too many Aborigines had been killed", to "about 100 lost their lives"? Is that just made up?

Ryan: Well, I think by the way in which Oxley wrote that he seemed to think there had been a great loss of life from the Aborigines.

Dalley: So, in a sense, is it fair enough for (Windschuttle) to say that you did make up figures? You're telling me you made an estimated guess.

Ryan: Historians are always making up figures.

Stand by for the flood of apologies to historian Keith Windschuttle, who has been vilified for undoing her mischief. Not.