Category Archives: AUSTRALIAN FIRST NATIONS HISTORICAL SOCIETY

Australia has a very shameful History.

First Nations People

Noel Pearson urges Shorten to prioritise Indigenous recognition over Republic
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-11-26/noel-pearson-wants-indigenous-recognition-vote-before-republic/10556106

Advertisements

Australian History

Apocalypses are more than the stuff of fiction — First Nations Australians survived one – RN
Updated Fri 8 Dec 2017, 10:22 AM AEDT

PHOTO Claire G Coleman says the fact that her ancestors survived is a miracle. TWITTER: CLAIRE G COLEMAN
There is a shield in the British Museum, taken by Cook on his 1770 landing in the place he named Botany Bay, in what was to become New South Wales.

Called the Gweagal shield, it has a bullet hole near the centre. Oral history held by the Gweagal people says the man who owned that shield was shot.

Carved of wood, it was incapable of withstanding a threat his people had never experienced and almost certainly had never imagined.

PHOTO It is believed the man who owned the Gweagal shield was shot. SUPPLIED: THE TRUSTEES OF THE BRITISH MUSEUM
It was never my intent to write apocalyptic fiction, to write about dystopias.

It was my intent to write a novel that would explain and contextualise the invasion of Australia in 1788 in such a way that it would help white people understand what the invasion meant for my people. I wanted people to have empathy for my people if they had not before.

But while writing that novel, Terra Nullius, I experienced a revelation that was to blow my mind.

Novels about the history of Australia are post-apocalyptic, because all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people alive today are the descendants of people who survived an apocalypse.

Modern Australia is a dystopia if you look at it from our point of view — it’s only the “lucky country” for everybody else.

While writing my novel I came to the understanding that the only way to tell the story truthfully and with the impact I wanted it to have, was to embrace the post-apocalyptic imagery.

In 1788 boats arrived in Sydney Cove, and started unloading soldiers and prisoners, transportees on this continent, now called Australia. That is when the apocalypse began.

Over nearly 230 years the First Nations Australian people went from controlling the continent to constituting only around 3 per cent of the continent’s population. These were end times, the ending of a civilisation, of a culture, of a people.

More people died than you can imagine — most of the population died, and those of us living now are the descendants of a small number of survivors.

We can only imagine now, the violence, the pain, the suffering of my First Nations people.

Diseases imported from Europe would have been decimating and terrifying. Most of the white people were men and we know rape was commonplace. Many of those who survived the epidemics were massacred, the survivors of the massacres were rounded up, forced into concentration camps, had their culture destroyed and were often enslaved.

There were hundreds of languages spoken on this continent before white people came. Many of those languages and the information encoded in those languages are now lost. Things cannot be explained or remembered if there are no words to talk about them.

As a Noongar woman, my ancestral country is the south coast of Western Australia. I can say with certainty that I am alive only because my ancestors survived.

That is true of all people, everyone only lives because their ancestors survived.

In my case survival was a miracle. There were few survivors, and the attempted genocide of my people was almost successful.

I am a product of the resilience of two women — Binyan, also known as Fanny Winnery, and Harriet Coleman, her daughter.

However, it is not just how many people died, or the low chance of survival that defined the arrival of white people as apocalyptic.

An entire civilisation was destroyed along with our language and a lot of culture. It was destroyed because the people who invaded Australia — and it was an invasion — had no respect for the people who lived here.

White people brought their own culture, their own religion. Seeing ours as completely lacking in value, they used their military might and their control of the resources they stole, to force their culture on us. There are survivors, there is living culture — but so much, so very much, was lost.

In summary: white people stole our land, stole our children, attempted, and nearly succeeded in the complete destruction of our culture.

We, the Indigenous people of this continent, now live in a dystopia.

We are a tiny proportion of the population, only 3 per cent, therefore we do not have the political power to enact change within a democracy. This is one of the reasons why First Nations Australians have a life expectancy decades shorter than white people, often live in third-world conditions, and are on average significantly poorer than the national average.

Indigenous affairs are something done to us, not with us. Our small numbers and a history of hostile government has kept control of our affairs out of our hands.

We don’t have to imagine an apocalypse, we survived one. We don’t have to imagine a dystopia, we live in one — day after day after day.

Posted Fri 8 Dec 2017, 7:30 AM AEDT

INVASION by Captain Cook 1770 began the slaughter of One NATIONS PEOPLE

There is a shield in the British Museum, taken by Cook on his 1770 landing in the place he named Botany Bay, in what was to become New South Wales.

Called the Gweagal shield, it has a bullet hole near the centre. Oral history held by the Gweagal people says the man who owned that shield was shot.

Carved of wood, it was incapable of withstanding a threat his people had never experienced and almost certainly had never imagined.

PHOTO It is believed the man who owned the Gweagal shield was shot. SUPPLIED: THE TRUSTEES OF THE BRITISH MUSEUM
It was never my intent to write apocalyptic fiction, to write about dystopias.

It was my intent to write a novel that would explain and contextualise the invasion of Australia in 1788 in such a way that it would help white people understand what the invasion meant for my people. I wanted people to have empathy for my people if they had not before.

But while writing that novel, Terra Nullius, I experienced a revelation that was to blow my mind.

Novels about the history of Australia are post-apocalyptic, because all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people alive today are the descendants of people who survived an apocalypse.

Modern Australia is a dystopia if you look at it from our point of view — it’s only the “lucky country” for everybody else.

While writing my novel I came to the understanding that the only way to tell the story truthfully and with the impact I wanted it to have, was to embrace the post-apocalyptic imagery.

In 1788 boats arrived in Sydney Cove, and started unloading soldiers and prisoners, transportees on this continent, now called Australia. That is when the apocalypse began.

Over nearly 230 years the First Nations Australian people went from controlling the continent to constituting only around 3 per cent of the continent’s population. These were end times, the ending of a civilisation, of a culture, of a people.

More people died than you can imagine — most of the population died, and those of us living now are the descendants of a small number of survivors.

We can only imagine now, the violence, the pain, the suffering of my First Nations people.

Diseases imported from Europe would have been decimating and terrifying. Most of the white people were men and we know rape was commonplace. Many of those who survived the epidemics were massacred, the survivors of the massacres were rounded up, forced into concentration camps, had their culture destroyed and were often enslaved.

There were hundreds of languages spoken on this continent before white people came. Many of those languages and the information encoded in those languages are now lost. Things cannot be explained or remembered if there are no words to talk about them.

As a Noongar woman, my ancestral country is the south coast of Western Australia. I can say with certainty that I am alive only because my ancestors survived.

That is true of all people, everyone only lives because their ancestors survived.

In my case survival was a miracle. There were few survivors, and the attempted genocide of my people was almost successful.

I am a product of the resilience of two women — Binyan, also known as Fanny Winnery, and Harriet Coleman, her daughter.

However, it is not just how many people died, or the low chance of survival that defined the arrival of white people as apocalyptic.

An entire civilisation was destroyed along with our language and a lot of culture. It was destroyed because the people who invaded Australia — and it was an invasion — had no respect for the people who lived here.

White people brought their own culture, their own religion. Seeing ours as completely lacking in value, they used their military might and their control of the resources they stole, to force their culture on us. There are survivors, there is living culture — but so much, so very much, was lost.

In summary: white people stole our land, stole our children, attempted, and nearly succeeded in the complete destruction of our culture.

We, the Indigenous people of this continent, now live in a dystopia.

We are a tiny proportion of the population, only 3 per cent, therefore we do not have the political power to enact change within a democracy. This is one of the reasons why First Nations Australians have a life expectancy decades shorter than white people, often live in third-world conditions, and are on average significantly poorer than the national average.

Indigenous affairs are something done to us, not with us. Our small numbers and a history of hostile government has kept control of our affairs out of our hands.

We don’t have to imagine an apocalypse, we survived one. We don’t have to imagine a dystopia, we live in one — day after day after day.

Australian History

Watershed moments in Indigenous Australia’s struggle to be heard

PHOTO Indigenous Australians fight for rights and recognition to this day

The story of the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians is contested and complex.

From the arrival of the First Fleet to the trauma of the Stolen Generations, the fight for land rights and the Uluru Statement from the Heart, it has often been one of marginalisation and struggle .

Here, we trace how the story has evolved, with a focus on how Indigenous communities have been shaped by shifting government policies.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that this article contains the images of people who have died.

11 ships change everything
The land, way of life and rich culture of Australia’s first people was forever changed by the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788.

The European ships also marked the beginning of a dramatic decline in the Indigenous Australian population.

“It was an invasion,” says Pat Anderson AO, who has spent her life advocating for the rights and welfare of Indigenous people and is chair of Australia’s national Indigenous health body, the Lowitja Institute.

“Our understanding and our experience of that coming is bloody, it’s murderous, it’s unforgivable.”

While there is some evidence of deep and lasting relationships between settlers and Indigenous communities, it was the exception rather than the rule.

PHOTO Armed fighting between Europeans and Aboriginal people is depicted in this painting by William Oswald Hodgkinson.
SUPPLIED: NATIONAL LIBRARY OF AUSTRALIA
Ms Anderson says there were massacres, poisonings and “the spread of blankets with smallpox”.

“Definitely it was a full-scale attack on those people who for 65,000 years had lived on this beautiful continent,” she says.

Prior to first contact, the Aboriginal population was estimated to have been between 750,000 and 1.5 million. By 1901, that number was more like 100,000.

Disease played a major part in the population decline, says Indigenous affairs expert Tim Rowse, but “there was also a lot of killing”.

‘Detribalisation’ and reserves
There was a common assumption among white people in the 1900s that the Indigenous population wouldn’t exist in the foreseeable future.

At the turn of the century, Professor Rowse says, white people thought that once uncolonised tribes were contacted they would fall into a pattern called ‘detribalisation’.

“[This] would be so rapidly destructive of them physically and culturally that in a few generations after contact they also would no longer be present as a distinct people,” he says.

Historian Henry Reynolds says this view was heavily influenced by the popularity of Social Darwinism.

“Anyone who was up-to-date, anyone who was modern, accepted the truth of evolution, and it was assumed evolution applied to human races like [it did] to species in the natural world,” he says.

“Primitive human races were dying out, and nature had dictated that and there wasn’t much that could be done about it.

“So in a sense they felt that the Aborigines had no long-term future.”

Some believed the only way to stop the decline in the Indigenous population was to protect them from the white community.

PHOTO Aboriginal people were taken into reserves where they were taught “civilisation” and Christianity.
MAVIS WALLEY
This, Professor Rowse says, was used as an argument for the removal of Aboriginal people into reserves, where they were taught “civilisation” as well as Christianity.

But state-run reserves were often poorly funded and resourced, with low quality of schooling and little prospect of employment.

History professor Bain Attwood says it left Indigenous people feeling disenfranchised.

“The skills that they need in order to survive, let alone flourish in the wider world, they don’t acquire those skills,” he says.

Segregation and silencing
Listen to the series

The story of relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians is contested and complex. Listen to the three-part series from RN’s Rear Vision.
In 1901 six self-governing colonies federated to become the Commonwealth of Australia.

Indigenous Australians weren’t counted towards the national population figure.

By the early 1900s there was an increasing number of reserves all around Australia, especially in southern states such as New South Wales.

Many white townsfolk became very anxious about the population of Aboriginal residents on reserves.

Social and political sciences professor Heidi Norman says governments began to employ policies of segregation “to push Aboriginal people further out of town”.

“A key strategy to implement segregation was the threat of the removal of children [which] posed such a threat over the lives of Aboriginal people,” she says.

“By the 20th century what we start to see is a silencing, a marginalisation, an invisibility of Aboriginal people in the spaces of towns and cities.”

The ‘half-caste problem’ and the policy of assimilation
By the 1920s it became clear that the Aboriginal population was no longer facing extinction. Instead, it was growing.

“Institutional interventions, the institutional management of the Indigenous population, although it was very heavy-handed, did have a biologically protective effect,” Professor Rowse says.

Around the country, white and Indigenous people began to grow new, large families of people of mixed race.

But not everyone was pleased about this.

“There was a lot of talk about the ‘half-caste menace’ and in particular the concern about intermixture, of trying to stop the breeding of these mixed-descent people,” Professor Reynolds explains.

The mixed-race people were considered by many white people to be a threat to civil society.

“And that’s why they started taking light-coloured children away. So they could be absorbed,” Professor Reynolds says.

“They did not want a self-conscious Aboriginal minority developing. And this is certainly true of the 1920s and 1930s.”

Subscribe to the podcast

Rear Vision puts contemporary events in their historical context, answering the question: “How did it come to this?”
The law allowed a government-appointed ‘Chief Protector’ to undertake the care, custody or control of an ‘Aboriginal or half-caste’ if in his opinion it was necessary or desirable.

Between 1910 and 1970, many Indigenous children were forcibly removed from their families. They would become known as the Stolen Generations.

The policies of child removal left a legacy of trauma and loss that continues to affect Indigenous communities, families and individuals.

While there are people who dispute the facts of the Stolen Generations, in 1997 the Bringing Them Home report acknowledged the thousands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people affected by forcible removal.

A labour force working for free
Despite segregation, parts of the Australian agricultural industry depended on an Indigenous labour force.

“Aboriginal men in particular were very important parts of the wool industry, in shearing, certainly in the cattle industry, and in land-clearing and fencing,” Professor Rowse says.

Marcia Langton, a prominent Indigenous academic, says historians call the system “indentured labour”, but “much of it was actually slavery”.

Professor Reynolds agrees.

“Absolutely, yes. This was certainly true right across Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Wages were rarely given to the [Indigenous] workers.”

Throughout the early-to-mid 20th century, urban and rural Indigenous communities were engaged in acts of resistance and striking for transparency around wages.

Political climate heats up
In 1927 Wiradjuri man Jimmy Clements, known as “King Billy”, walked from the Brungle Mission to Canberra for the opening of Parliament House in 1927.

He was one of only two Indigenous people present at the opening, and was not invited. At the time, he said it was a protest to demonstrate his “sovereign rights to the Federal Territory”.

It was the first recorded instance of Aboriginal protest at Parliament, but it would not be the last.

PHOTO Wiradjuri elder Jimmy Clements in 1927, in the first recorded instance of Aboriginal protest at Parliament.
SUPPLIED: NATIONAL ARCHIVES OF AUSTRALIA
In 1938, while NSW was celebrating its sesquicentenary in 1938, “hundreds of Aborigines meeting in a hall on what is now George Street [were] passing resolutions about how badly they were treated, asking for land rights, asking to not be starved and to have some rights”,” Professor Langton says.

In the post WWII period, international ideas and treaties also begin to influence events in Australia.

“The impact of what was happening in the Americas, in particular, the Black Power movement and the Civil Rights movement, had an enormous impact on Aboriginal people,” says Paul Coe, Indigenous activist and an initiator of the Aboriginal Legal Service.

At the 1950-51 Aboriginal Worker’s Strike in Darwin, Aboriginal man Fred Waters was banned from his country.

Unionists took up the cause, which led to the establishment of the Council for Aboriginal Rights and, later, the Federal Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders (FCAATSI), which lobbied for changes to the constitution, under which Indigenous Australians were not recognised as citizens.

The recently formed United Nations, which counted Australia in its numbers, also put the pressure on to remove discriminatory constitutional legislation.

A landmark referendum and the birth of the Tent Embassy
A referendum on May 27, 1967 marked a significant step for Indigenous rights.

Alongside the FCAATSI, activists such as Faith Bandler had lobbied hard for support for the referendum and to encourage yes votes from areas all over Australia.

PHOTO The 1967 referendum granted Indigenous people certain citizenship rights, including being reckoned in the census.
FEDERAL COUNCIL FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF ABORIGINES AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDERS
They argued that unless the Australian government had the power to make special laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the states would continue to allocate inadequate resources for education, housing and health in Indigenous communities.

“It was vitally important to have that referendum to force the Commonwealth government to be responsible for the Aboriginal people, because only the Commonwealth had the necessary resources,” Bandler said at the time.

Australians overwhelmingly voted to amend the constitution. Indigenous people were granted certain citizenship rights, including being reckoned in the census.

The landmark decision also made it possible for the Commonwealth to make laws regarding Indigenous Australians.

That presented a space for Indigenous people to fight for rights specific to them, not just the same rights as other Australian citizens.

Right wrongs: The ’67 referendum

On May 27, 1967, Australians voted in a referendum to change how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were referred to in the Constitution.
In 1972, when prime minister Billy McMahon “refused to acknowledge the communities of the Northern Territory entitled to have land rights”, four men — Billy Craigie, Michael Anderson, Bertie Williams and Tony Coorey — decided to go to Canberra and protest. The Tent Embassy was born.

“They… went down and raised a beach umbrella. Within a matter of days that area was just swarming with Aboriginal people. It was like a magnet,” Mr Coe says.

“We wanted to have the stake in what goes on in this country, and we wanted to have a say.”

Professor Jennifer Clark, head of the school of humanities at the University of Adelaide, says the impact was “enormous and monumental”.

‘”You have these young men who are disaffected…who spontaneously go to the lawns of Parliament House, put up an umbrella, sit there and say, ‘We feel like aliens in our own land and this is an Aboriginal embassy’,” she says.

PHOTO LtoR: Billy Craigie, Bert Williams, Michael Anderson and Tony Coorey started the Tent Embassy
THE TRIBUNE / SEARCH FOUNDATION
When police were called in to remove protesters and violence erupted, it was seen in news reports around the globe.

“The age of television broadcast the brutality and so that made people sit up and pay attention,” Professor Langton says.

The Tent Embassy remained, however, and in February 1972 then-opposition leader Gough Whitlam accepted an invitation to visit the embassy.

“This giant, lanky, long-legged man goes to the Tent Embassy and sits down and is engaged in what appears to very genuine dialogue, and he leaves the tent embassy saying that he will legislate land rights,” Professor Norman says.

One of the first acts of the Whitlam Government in 1973 was to establish The Aboriginal Land Rights Commission, known as the Woodward Royal Commission.

It was charged with inquiring into appropriate ways to recognise Aboriginal land rights in the Northern Territory of Australia.

PHOTO Aboriginal rights activist Vincent Lingiari with Gough Whitlam, who visited the Tent Embassy before becoming PM
HTTP://KEITHLYONS.FILES.WORDPRESS.COM
It eventually led to the Aboriginal Land Right (Northern Territory) Act of 1976, which was passed by the Fraser Liberal Government.

“The bill was probably the most the most progressive land rights act ever passed either at the national level or at state parliament,” Mr Coe says.

“[It] gave the Aboriginal communities of the Northern Territory complete say over the future of their own country, and that meant having control over things like minerals, having a say as to what happens to the water.”

The Hawke Government came to power in 1983 promising National Land Rights, but by 1985 it had backed away from that promise.

Fred Chaney, a former Liberal Aboriginal affairs minister, said it was “a promise too hard to deliver”.

“It was too hard politically, administratively. Here in Western Australia there was a really deeply racist campaign, run by the mining industry, supported by … the Liberal Party,” he says.

“As Minister for Aboriginal Affairs in the federal government in 1978-80, I was strongly opposed by my own party at the state level for our support for land rights. It was a matter of deep and bitter political division.

“In the end it just wasn’t going to happen, and it didn’t happen.”

’90s ‘golden age’
Enshrining national land rights, a prospect that had created deep political divisions in Australia, would prove more difficult.

“It was a case of them going back to the courts,” Professor Reynolds says, “and that is exactly what happened”.

Eddi Mabo took his fight against the legal doctrine of “terra nullius” to the High Court — and won.

His wife Bonita said the landmark 1992 decision made her family “as proud as punch”.

“We got to that side of Sydney, pulled up on the side of the road and we got a call from [my daughter] to say ‘Dad won the decision, won the case’,” she told the ABC at the time.

“We just jumped out and hugged each other.”

PHOTO Celuia Mabo and Bonita Mabo, with grandson Bryan, celebrate the 1992 ruling
SUPPLIED: TREVOR GRAHAM
The case led to the Native Title Act 1993, which gave land rights to Indigenous groups who could demonstrate their continuing connection to country.

But for many Indigenous people, especially those in the southern states, these rights were of little or no use.

“The majority of people are never going to be able to demonstrate that they’ve got native title rights, largely because a lot of the land in this country has had, what we call under the Native Title Act, ‘extinguishing acts’ committed over it,” says Jakelin Troy, director of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research at the University of Sydney.

“There are a whole lot of kinds of title given to other people or entities that extinguish native title.”

The 1990s are also notable as the decade in which the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, or ATSIC, was formed.

“It was an organisation that had an elected arm of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who represented all of the communities across Australia,” Professor Troy says.

“It was unique in the world, it was like our own self-government.”

Coupled with prime minister Paul Keating, “who was very pro-Indigenous rights”, it was “kind of a golden age” for Aboriginal affairs, says Professor Troy.

However, in 2004 the Liberal Government abolished the organisation, with prime minister John Howard saying it was an experiment that had failed.

“In my view there has been nothing post-ATSIC that has been as effective in terms of Aboriginal affairs, as ATSIC was,” says Fred Chaney, a former Liberal Aboriginal Affairs minister.

Hopes made and dashed
On February 13, 2008, prime minister Kevin Rudd delivered a historic national apology to the Stolen Generations — the estimated one in three children of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples were forcibly removed from their families.

“We apologise for the laws and policies of successive parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians,” Mr Rudd said.

“For the pain, suffering and hurt of these stolen generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry.

“To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry.”

PHOTO Gwenda Stanely comforts her Aunty Rita Shillingworth during the apology
LISA MAREE WILLIAMS: GETTY IMAGES
The apology produced significant momentum for Indigenous rights, but Ms Anderson says since then progress has been slow.

She describes the past decade as “very bleak in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs”.

“We haven’t had a voice, we’re invisible in this country of ours, decisions are made completely outside of any discussion or contact with us, and this has to change,” she says.

“It has to be in the constitution …so governments of the day [can] not just get rid of it on a whim or a fancy.”

In another nod to the pain of the past, a push to change the date of Australia Day from January 26, when the First Fleet landed at Port Jackson in Sydney, began to gain momentum.

From 2012, a national campaign calling for Indigenous people to be recognised in the constitution gained significant media attention, but some believed the necessary referendum would set back the campaign for a treaty with Indigenous Australia.

For many Indigenous Australians, the First Nations Constitutional Convention in Uluru in May 0f 2017 provided hope of steps towards change.

PHOTO Dancers perform at the opening ceremony of the summit at Uluru.
ABC NEWS: STEPHANIE ZILLMAN
Law Professor Megan Davis says it was a historic moment.

“Indigenous Australia came together for the first time, with a historic consensus position to say to the Australia people: ‘We’re here at Uluru, we’re an aggrieved party, we are telling you you have done something wrong, we want you to meet with us to talk about what that wrong is and how it can be addressed’.”

The convention resulted in the Uluru Statement of the Heart, proposing a constitutionally enshrined voice to the parliament, a Makarrata Commission (a dispute resolution process) and truth-telling.

But the Government rejected the Statement, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbill saying the proposal was “contrary to the principles of equality of citizenship” and was too radical a change to succeed at referendum.

The fight for constitutional recognition

For many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families, the complex debate over our constitution seems a world away. So what will constitutional recognition mean to Aboriginal families?
The rejection sparked anger and disappointment from within the Indigenous community.

Darkinjung Aboriginal Land Council chief executive Sean Gordon described the rejection as an “act of political bastardry”.

But former co-chair of Mr Turnbull’s Indigenous Advisory Council, Chris Sarra, urged Indigenous leaders to “stay at the table” and not “have tantrums” while working towards constitutional recognition.

Cape York lawyer Noel Pearson has said that, one year on from the Statement, there is still a “window” to develop a constitutionally-enshrined voice representing Indigenous Australians.

The fight for change among Australia’s first nations people, that began with the arrival of the First Fleet, continues.

POSTED WED 4 JUL 2018, 8:32 AM AEST
SHAREEmail Facebook Twitter WhatsApp
RELATED
Indigenous treaty a step closer after NT Government’s historic pledge
Call for a ‘declaration’ celebrating all Australians, one year after Uluru statement
Top Stories

Hundreds search beach for clues in Toyah Cordingley murder

Angry Anderson’s son dies after alleged assault on Sydney’s northern beaches

Analysis: House price slump is now weighing on the economy, but is it bottoming out?

Searing Outback heat claims life of experienced motorcyclist

The unknown story of the tiny town that suffered the greatest loss in WW1
How erstwhile English pirate William Dampier helped undermine Indigenous Australia

Australian History

How explorer and pirate William Dampier’s comments on Aboriginal people in 1697 set the tone for future sentiment

PHOTO William Dampier (Thomas Murray, c1697) shortly after he published A New Voyage Around the World. SUPPLIED: NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY
While William Dampier is lauded as the first Englishman to set foot in Australia, he published a popular book with a derogatory description of Aboriginal people that would influence the foundations of our nation.

“The inhabitants of this country are the miserabilist people in the world,” Dampier wrote in his 1697 book A New Voyage Around The World.

In describing how the Aboriginal people he met could not be induced to collect water for his ship, he said they instead “grinned like so many monkeys staring one upon another”.

Dampier’s first book shot him to fame and elevated his status from a pirate, likely to be jailed or hanged, to the commander of subsequent Royal Navy voyages of global exploration.

A New Voyage Around The World described his circumnavigation as a privateer, attacking mostly Spanish ships and colonies for personal profit, while making questionable claims to be an emissary for England at war with Spain.

But he also made detailed descriptions of the people and places he visited, including two months spent in north-west Australia in 1688.

It was there, in what by today’s standards is a strikingly beautiful shallow bay with white sandy beaches, that English eyes first took in an Australian vista.

The location on the northern part of what is now known as the Dampier Peninsula, north of Broome, has been home to the Bardi people for tens of thousands of years, and it was Bardi people who Dampier described with such derision in his subsequent book.

“Setting aside their human shape, they differ but little from brutes,” Dampier surmised.

PHOTO Karrakatta Bay near the northern tip of the Dampier Peninsula where the explorer was the first Englishman to set foot on Australia. ABC KIMBERLEY: BEN COLLINS
Dampier needs to be better understood
The description of miserable people, blighted by heat and flies, were words which maritime archaeologist Michael McCarthy says echoed through history.

PHOTO Archaeologist Dr Michael McCarthy says Dampier’s derogatory words were influenced by his publisher. ABC NEWS
“Interestingly with respect to Cook and Banks on the other side, you see the effect Dampier had, and those words had,” Dr McCarthy said.

James Cook and naturalist Joseph Banks came more than 80 years after Dampier, but Dr McCarthy points out that Dampier’s words framed their first view of Aboriginal people.

While surveying the east coast in what we now call New South Wales, Banks wrote:

“Five people who appeared through our glasses to be enormously black, so far did the prejudices which we had built on Dampier’s account influence us, that we fancied we could see their colour when we could scarce distinguish whether or not they are men.”

Former director of the National Museum of Australia and the Western Australian Museum, Dawn Casey, said Dampier’s racism and the influence his words had on the perspectives of Cook and Banks set the tone for the colonisation of Australia.

PHOTO Dr Dawn Casey says the words of Dampier shaped attitudes, laws and actions she deals with in her role as deputy CEO of the National Aboriginal and Community Controlled Health Service. ABC NEWS: KIM LESTER
“With Dampier, Joseph Banks, Captain James Cook and those governors that came after them who employed academics and anthropologists, have certainly, no doubt, set the tone and the blueprint for Aboriginal Australia,” Dr Casey said.

“The lack of recognition earlier on in the piece — that Aboriginal people owned this country and have been here for a long period of time — certainly led to the law of terra nullius.”

Dr Casey said that Dampier was the first of many English explorers to judge Aboriginal people for the perception of failing to meet European measures of sophistication.

“Here were these people who didn’t farm land like others, they wandered around the country, they didn’t have the same ownership of the land as one would have in England, for instance,” she said.

The other side of history

PHOTO Bardi elder Peter Hunter says Dampier failed to appreciate the laws of traditional culture and the skill with which Bardi people lived off the land and sea. ABC KIMBERLEY: BEN COLLINS
Bardi elder Peter Hunter said the story of Dampier’s visit to Australia was told to him by his grandfather, an oral history passed down the generations for 330 years.

But the only detail to the story is where the landing took place.

“I didn’t hear much of him, other than he landed in Karrakatta Bay,” Mr Hunter said.

He is perplexed as to how the Englishman found so little of value after spending nearly two months camped in the area.

“Bardi people are very strict in following their laws and generally look after each other and have a lot of respect among themselves,” he said.

“We can catch fish without a fishing line using poison roots that drug the fish and know where to find the waterholes in a lot of places.”

Tyrone Garstone is both a Bardi man and the acting CEO of the Kimberley Land Council, the Aboriginal organisation established to redress the legacy of Aboriginal dispossession and devastation.

He is in no doubt that Dampier set the tone that has shaped Australian Indigenous history.

“I couldn’t agree more, not only from what William Dampier wrote, but from other explorers who came from Australia that are of a similar tone,” Mr Garstone said.

PHOTO Tyrone Garstone, the acting CEO of the Kimberley Land Council, says Dampier’s tone persists but a new history is starting to be unearthed. ABC KIMBERLEY: BEN COLLINS
He pointed to the work of Bruce Pascoe and his book Dark Emu in finding the sophistication of Indigenous culture and land management overlooked by many early European descriptions of Indigenous people.

“He’s gone back and used the journals of the early explorers and had a different lens over it, having a look at it from an Aboriginal perspective,” Mr Garstone said.

“And what we’re starting to see is the unearthing of a new history, a new story to show that Aboriginal people aren’t these hapless hunter gatherers.”

Bad timing and book sales
There is some evidence that Dampier’s private descriptions of Aboriginal people were more respectful than his published work.

Dr McCarthy said Dampier’s journals show he initially described Aboriginal people with some admiration, and the derogatory words were written later under the influence of his publisher to reflect popular attitudes and improve book sales.

“Dampier’s book and Dampier’s journal are two different things in many respects,” Dr McCarthy said.

He pointed to a passage in Dampier’s journal:

“They are people of good stature but are very thin and lean, I judge for want of food.

“They build their weirs of stone across the bay, they search those weirs for what the sea has left behind.”

Dr McCarthy argues that Dampier had an innate respect for people and cultures foreign to him which drove his fascination and record keeping.

But when he returned to England with tales of an exotic world, a publisher saw the opportunity for a bestseller — if it better reflected popular attitudes.

“A publisher named James Knapton had only just published a journal about buccaneers and he sees in Dampier’s work a bestseller,” Dr McCarthy said.

“But he looks at society’s attitudes at the time, he looks at what people want to hear, and he changes, it seems, the words that Dampier gives.”

But Dr McCarthy and Dr Casey agree that Dampier should still be judged by the description published under his name.

“He published a popular side of what he saw as this country and the inhabitants of it,” Dr Casey said.

“You can’t totally absolve Dampier from that because he allowed that to happen.”

The words of Dampier shaped attitudes, laws and actions that Dr Casey said led to some of the issues she deals with in her role as deputy CEO of the National Aboriginal and Community Controlled Health Services.

“The way Aboriginal people have been treated since the arrival of Western civilisation has impacted all the way through to what we find today in terms of health issues, and particularly chronic diseases,” she said.

But despite that legacy, Dr Casey said Dampier deserved better recognition for his contributions to Australia and world history, both good and bad.

“Of course he should be recognised and his journals that Dr McCarthy has identified should be published much more widely for people to understand the whole person,” she said.

“Australians need to know much more about William Dampier.”

PHOTO A map from Dampier’s book A New Voyage Around the World shows the route he took to become the first Englishman to set foot on Australia in 1688.

AUSTRALIA HAS A DARK SHAMEFUL HISTORY

As early as 1804 the British began to slaughter, kidnap and enslave the Black people of Tasmania. The colonial government itself was not even inclined to consider the aboriginal Tasmanians as full human beings, and scholars began to discuss civilization as a unilinear process with White people at the top and Black people at the bottom. To the Europeans of Tasmania the Blacks were an entity fit only to be exploited in the most sadistic of manners–a sadism that staggers the imagination and violates all human morality. As UCLA professor, Jared Diamond, recorded:

“Tactics for hunting down Tasmanians included riding out on horseback to shoot them, setting out steel traps to catch them, and putting out poison flour where they might find and eat it. Sheperds cut off the penis and testicles of aboriginal men, to watch the men run a few yards before dying. At a hill christened Mount Victory, settlers slaughtered 30 Tasmanians and threw their bodies over a cliff. One party of police killed 70 Tasmanians and dashed out the children’s brains.”

Such vile and animalistic behavior on the part of the White settlers of Tasmania was the rule rather than the exception. In spite of their wanton cruelty, however, punishment in Tasmania was exceedingly rare for the Whites, although occasionally Whites were sentenced for crimes against Blacks. For example, there is an account of a man who was flogged for exhibiting the ears and other body parts of a Black boy that he had mutilated alive. We hear of another European punished for cutting off the little finger of an Aborigine and using it as a tobacco stopper. Twenty-five lashes were stipulated for Europeans convicted of tying aboriginal “Tasmanian women to logs and burning them with firebrands, or forcing a woman to wear the head of her freshly murdered husband on a string around her neck.”

Not a single European, however, was ever punished for the murder of Tasmanian Aborigines. Europeans thought nothing of tying Black men to trees and using them for target practice. Black women were kidnapped, chained and exploited as sexual slaves. White convicts regularly hunted Black people for sport, casually shooting, spearing or clubbing the men to death, torturing and raping the women, and roasting Black infants alive. As historian, James Morris, graphically noted:

“We hear of children kidnapped as pets or servants, of a woman chained up like an animal in a sheperd’s hut, of men castrated to keep them off their own women. In one foray seventy aborigines were killed, the men shot, the women and children dragged from crevices in the rocks to have their brains dashed out. A man called Carrotts, desiring a native woman, decapitated her husband, hung his head around her neck and drove her home to his shack.”

AUSTRALIAN DARK SHAMEFUL HISTORY

Wiradjuri Mob wish no disrespect to any Aboriginal people past or present by posting this information.

A special date in Australian History is arriving, again.

28th October 1834,
The Pinjarra Massacre.

Also known as the Battle of Pinjarra, was an attack that occurred at Pinjarra, Western Australia on a group of up to 80 Noongar people by a detachment of 25 soldiers, police and settlers led by Governor James Stirling in 1834.

25 + Noongar people killed.

#WiradjuriMob

Australia’s biggest native title settlement, worth $1.3b, registered three years after deal struck – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-17/australia-biggest-native-title-claim-worth-.3b-registered/10386774?fbclid=IwAR3Bfz09A7OBM2vCellU5IsT5GsgAgCvWiuHWO5tV5nINPyfUC41_m-B95Q&pfmredir=sm

Dirk Hartog Island turns back the clock 400 years to a time before European settlement – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-14/dirk-hartog-island-being-sent-400-years-back-in-time/10368926?pfmredir=sm&sf199978215=1&smid=Page:%20ABC%20News-Facebook_Organic&WT.tsrc=Facebook_Organic

TIDDALICK THE FROG

Tiddalick The Frog is an Aboriginal Dream Time story which the elders of the Koori Tribe would tell the children to teach them a couple of important lessons.

The Story

Once , a long time ago in the Dream Time there was a greedy frog called Tiddalick.Tiddalick wanted to be the biggest frog in all the land.

One very hot day Tiddalick was very thirsty so he began to drink and drink and drink until the whole billabong was all dried up. When all the other animals came to the billabong to drink there was no water. They knew it was the greedy frog who drank all the water. They were very angry at him. If the animals wanted to get all the water out of Tiddalick and back into the billabong they would have to make Tiddalick laugh until all the water came out.

The echidna tried to make him laugh by rolling down the hill into the dried up billabong but Tiddalick didn’t laugh. Kookabura was perched high in the gum tree, he pretended to fall out but Tiddalick still didn’t laugh. Wombat started dancing but Tiddalick still didn’t laugh. None of the animals knew what to and they were still very thirsty. When the eel was dancing he tied himself into a big knot, Tiddalick could not stop laughing at the eel. He laughed so much that all the water came out and ran back into the billabong. From that day on Tiddalick was never that greedy and only drank what he needed.

Morals

*A little laughter in a bad situation can make a whole lot of difference

*Greed is disliked

WA removed racial references, including the word ‘Aboriginal’, from birth certificates | Australia news | The Guardian

https://amp.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/may/17/wa-removed-racial-references-including-the-word-aboriginal-from-birth-certificates