1924 West Australian Aboriginals armed with spears shields an d boomerangs – Stock Image. .Acknowledged
1924 West Australian Aboriginals armed with spears shields an d boomerangs – Stock Image. .Acknowledged
‘Major incident’ at Darwin’s Don Dale youth detention centre – 7 News
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
*A little laughter in a bad situation can make a whole lot of difference
*Greed is disliked
Western Australia 1904
Aboriginal Concentration Camp
The photo of prisoners is from a book coming out in November this year. http://uwap.uwa.edu.au/products/every-mothers-son-is-guilty-policing-the-kimberley-frontier-of-western-australia-1882-1905
The photo, in front of Wyndham gaol, ironically, is designed to show that the treatment of Aboriginal prisoners in Western Australia was humane and orderly. It was issued following Dr Walter Roth’s ‘Royal Commission into the Treatment of the Natives.’ Roth said the criminal justice system operating in the Kimberley was a ‘brutal and outrageous state of affairs.’ Men were arrested by police on horseback, usually without warrants or evidence on various East Kimberley pastoral stations that had been established on the Aboriginal country mostly in the 1880s.
Most (including at times children as young as ten ) were charged with the ‘unlawful possession of beef’ for allegedly spearing the introduced cattle and received sentences of up to three years gaol often including a flogging. On police patrols over several weeks or months up to 40 people at a time were caught and then neck chained together and forced to walk up to 300 km to gaol where, despite there being no regulation allowing it, the neck chains stayed on. Following senior police directives Aboriginal women were never arrested but were bought in with the same group. Not to act as witnesses for the defence but as witnesses for the prosecution. Again without any legal authority they too were neck or ankle chained. Prior to 1905 prisoners from Wyndham had their neck chains fastened with ‘iron split links’ that were extremely difficult to remove. The links were not police issue but purchased privately from an ironmonger in Perth. They could only be opened with ‘a hammer and a chisel with the prisoners head on a blacksmiths anvil’, a process that would take up to ten minutes. Most prisoners did not know what they were arrested for, why they were in gaol, or why they were being punished. Roth directed (among a litany of other issues) the government of the day to stop using neck chains although they were used in Western Australia until at least 1956.