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Colonial anecdotes of rescues, ferrying, trade and transport using Aboriginals’skills and Aboriginal bark canoes, are coated in the colonial perspectives of the writers, but show a depth and diversity of interactions on Victoria’s rivers between Aboriginal and non Aboriginal Australians.
They tell that humble bark canoes, and the people who made them and navigated them, saved people’s lives and helped make Victoria prosperous.
The knowledge of colonial Victoria’s reliance on Aboriginal people’s skills and technology fell out of historical accounts in the 20th century, untaught and forgotten. But the diaries, letters, journals and manuscripts still tell the story if we take the time to read them.