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In the beginning… The first Australian Settlers arrived in Australia in 1788. A British sailor called Captain Cook had arrived in Australia 18 years earlier and it had been decided that the country was “Terra Nullius” - literally “Land Empty.” In other words, the British could claim the land and send whoever they liked there. In the beginning… The “First” Australians would be the following people: Embarked at Portsmouth * Officials and passengers: 15 * Ships' crews: 323 * Marines: 247 * Marines wives and children: 46 * Convicts (males): 582 * Convicts (females): 193 * Convicts' children: 14 * Total embarked: 1420 In the beginning… The “First” Australians would be the following people: Landed at Port Jackson * Officials and passengers: 14 * Ships' crews: 306 * Marines: 245 * Marines wives and children: 54 * Convicts (males): 543 * Convicts (females): 189 * Convicts' children: 22 * Total landed: 1373 In the beginning… Embarked at Portsmouth The “First” Australians would be the * Officials and passengers: following people: 15 Landed at Port Jackson * Ships' crews: 323 * Marines: 247 * Marines wives and * Officials and passengers: 14 children: 46 * Ships' crews: 306 * Convicts (males): 582 * Marines: 245 * Convicts (females): 193 * Marines wives and children: * Convicts' children: 14 * Total embarked: 1420 54 * Convicts (males): 543 During the voyage there were 22 * Convicts (females): 189 births (13 males, 9 females), while 69 people either died, were discharged, * Convicts' children: 22 or deserted (61 males and 8 * Total landed: 1373 females). In the beginning… Of course, as it was, there were already people living in Australia. The various tribes of the Aboriginal People of Australia had been living in the country for about 40,000 to 50,000 years. Which is quite a while. You can imagine them not being too happy about a bunch of pale strangers turning up and taking their land. This picture, an engraving from the 1800s shows the original Australians kicking up a fuss as Captain Cook arrives. In the beginning… What actually happened was a bit different. A pair of Aboriginal Men came down to meet Cook’s men as they first set foot in Australia. The British offered gifts, which the Australians ignored. To be fair, a few trinkets probably didn’t seem that important at the time. The British were worried that they hadn’t taken the gifts and fired a musket was fired over their heads, which wounded the older man slightly, and he ran towards the huts. In the beginning… He came back with other men and threw spears at Cook's men, although they did no harm. They were chased off after two more rounds were fired. The adults had left, but Cook found several Aboriginal children in the huts, and left some beads with them as a gesture of friendship. Not a great start, really. What Happened After We Got Here The Story of Aboriginal Australia What Happened After We Got Here The larger communities were worst hit, with vast numbers of Aborigines dying. Some tribes were practically wiped out. What Happened After We Got Here The second consequence of British settlement was appropriation of land and water resources. The settlers took the view that Indigenous Australians were nomads with no concept of land ownership, who could be driven off land wanted for farming or grazing and who would be just as happy somewhere else. In fact the loss of traditional lands, food sources and water resources was usually fatal, particularly to communities already weakened by disease. What Happened After We Got Here Also, Indigenous Australians groups had a deep spiritual and cultural connection to the land. When they were forced out, cultural and spiritual practices necessary to the cohesion and well- being of the group could not be maintained. It would be like not being allowed to go meet your friends in the park, or in Churches, or restaurants. With nowhere to meet each other for a chat or worship, societies fell apart. What Happened After We Got Here 1. What were some of the main consequences for Aboriginal People after contact with Europeans? 2. Why was the land Aboriginal Groups lived on so important to them? What Happened After We Got Here 3. What were some of the hardships Truganini had to endure? 4. What were two of Governor Arthur’s policies to help deal with the conflict between settlers and Aborigines? 5. What was the result of declaring martial law? What Happened After We Got Here Unlike in New Zealand, no treaty was ever entered into with the indigenous peoples entitling the Europeans to land ownership. The Europeans just took it, claiming the Australians weren’t really using it properly. What Happened After We Got Here Another big problem for the Indigenous Australians was that the new arrivals brought along sex and drugs (but no rock n’ roll). Indigenous Australians weren’t used to the alcohol, opium and tobacco the settlers brought and had no tolerance. European society had used these things for hundreds of years and had “grown up” with them. Giving them to Aborigines was like giving them to children. Substance abuse has remained a chronic problem for indigenous communities ever since. What Happened After We Got Here The combination of disease, loss of land and direct violence reduced the Aboriginal population by an estimated 90% between 1788 and 1900. Entire communities in the moderately fertile southern part of the continent simply vanished without trace, often before European settlers arrived or recorded their existence. The indigenous people in Tasmania were particularly hard-hit, with the last full-blood indigenous Tasmanian, Truganini, dying in 1876. Truganini Truganini was born around 1812 on Bruny Island, south of today's Tasmanian capital Hobart. Before she was eighteen, her mother had been murdered by whalers, her first fiance died while saving her from abduction, and, in 1828, her two sisters, Lowhenunhue and Maggerleede, were abducted and taken to Kangaroo Island, off South Australia and sold as slaves. She soon married Woorrady; although, he would die when she was still in her twenties. When Lieutenant-Governor George Arthur arrived in Van Diemen's Land in 1824, he implemented two policies to deal with the growing conflict between settlers and the Aborigines. First, bounties were awarded for the capture of Aboriginal adults and children. Truganini At the same time, Arthur tried to establish friendly relations to lure the aborigines into camps, where they would be out of the way of White Settlers. He started this campaign on Bruny Island where there had been fewer hostilities than in other parts of Tasmania. Truganini ended up being moved to a camp on Flinders Island. Not all settlers were happy about what was happening to the land’s original inhabitants. Some non-Aboriginal people were so horrified by what was happening to the Indigenous people they wrote to England seeking action to stop it, from the British Government. Governor Arthur, declared martial law against the Aboriginal people in 1828. This basically meant the Europeans were now at war with the Aboriginals. Lots of massacres followed. Truganini Lots of histories suggest the Aborigines were passive figures who allowed themselves to be overrun by the Europeans. Others suggest they were barbarians who attacked innocent white settlers. Neither is entirely true. The truth is more complex. Aborigines generally greeted new arrivals in a friendly way, taking advantage of new goods they brought. Not understanding the European idea of ownership, they would often ‘hunt’ cattle. Although the slow-moving cow rarely posed a problem. Truganini A kind of war had broken out in areas of settlement, particularly in Tasmania. Many Aborigines were massacred, while Aboriginal groups would launch ‘guerilla’ attacks on White Settlements. The battle in Tasmania was called the “Black War”, in which Truganini played some part, despite also helping Governor Arthur to reach a settlement with some tribes. By the time Truganini died in 1876, the Aboriginal Population of Tasmania had been all but obliterated. What Happened Next: ◊ By the early 20th century the indigenous population had declined (from possibly 1 Million) to between 50,000 and 90,000. Even those White Settlers sympathetic to their plight assumed they would soon die out altogether. ◊ However, by the end of World War II, birthrates were on the rise again. Also many indigenous men had served in the military and were among the few Indigenous Australians to have been granted citizenship; although they were obliged to carry papers, known as a "dog licence". The Original Citizens become Citizens: ◊ Aboriginal Australians were gradually being looked upon more kindly. At the same time, Indigenous workers were basically paid slave wages and had no rights as a citizen. ◊ It was 1963 before Aboriginal Australians could vote and 1967 before they were treated as “people” under Australian law. ◊ The 1967 referendum that allowed Aborigines to be treated as people under Australian law saw 90% of Australians support it. ◊ This is the largest “Yes” vote in Australian History. ◊ The Aboriginal People have yet to receive an official apology or acknowledgement for how the white settlers treated them. The Original Citizens become Citizens: ◊ What was a ‘dog licence’? ◊ Why do you think it took so long to treat Aboriginal people as ‘people’ under Australian law? ◊ Why do you think no apology has been officially given for how they were treated?
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