White settlers arrived from Britain to colonise a country they considered to be ‘Terra Nullus’ land belonging to no one. What impact did this have on the Aboriginal Settlement? An impact of astonishing measure. Within the first few months of the arrival of the first fleet, war was declared between the aborigines and the new settlers. The introduction of diseases such as smallpox, leprosy and even the common cold saw much mortality within a very short period of time. The introduction of grazing animals saw the annihilation of forests and bushland that the aboriginals depended on for basic survival.
Their environment disappeared before their very eyes. Resistance was only met with more white settlers retaliating with more advanced weaponry which caused on more than one occasion, in fact several, bloody ‘massacres’. Population Table* Year Population 1911 30,758 1933 45,066 1947^ 51,048 1966^^ 85,610 1976 160,916 1986 227,645 1991 265,458 ^ – Excludes Torees Strait Islanders ^^ – Includes Part Aboriginals Queensland Queensland’s early white settlers indulged in one of the greatest land grabs of all time and encountered fierce Aboriginal opposition.
At the time of white settlement, Queensland was the most densely populated area of Australia, supporting over 100,000 Aboriginal people in around 200 tribal groups. By the turn of the century, the Aboriginal people of Queensland had been comprehensively run off their lands and the white authorities had set up reserves for the survivors. In the 1980s control of the reserves was handed over to the residents, subject to rights of access for prospecting, exploration or mining. Land Rights Mabo Decision, the high court held that the common law of Australia recognises a form of native title to land.The court rejected the doctrine that Australia was Terra nullius (land belonging to no one) at the time of European settlement.
(Mabo v State of QLD (No. 2) 1992) Health Life expectancy is 15-20 years leas than general population. Between the ages of 25-44 the risk of death is 5 times greater than the national average. Diabetes affects 30% of some aboriginal communities which is 4 times the non-indigenous rate.
Infant mortality is 3 to 5 times higher than Aust. average. Infections diseases are 12 times higher than the Aust Average. Hospital admissions are 71% higher than for non-aboriginal males and 57% than non-aboriginal females.So what is letting the health system of Aboriginals down in Australia to cause such drastic figures? Education Only 33% of Aboriginal children complete schooling compared with 77% of white Australians and nearly 10% of Aboriginal children do not attend school or will leave before the age of 14. This then reflects on the employment figures with uneducated Aboriginals in rural areas finding it very hard to gain employment.
In remote communities access to secondary education is sometimes non-existent. There are many factors resulting in the poor level of attendees in schools and the low achievement.A lot of the attending Aboriginal students do not chose maths or science for their senior year thus lowering their chances of tertiary admission in these areas. Cultural and language differences play a major role in secondary schools which teach a majority white culture without taking into account the many differences in society such as life, history of culture, language, family values, parenting roles of Aboriginal society. Aboriginal poet Oodgeroo Noonuccal (Kath Walker) was born on North Stradbroke Island and is buried there – her 1964 We Are Going was the first published work by an Aboriginal woman.Politics ‘It is often said that, if you are born black, you are born political’. Dr Anita Heiss ** Centennial Protest – 1888 Australia Day Protest – 1938 – A day of mourning. A blackboard Australia Day Protest – 1988 Summary The word Aborigine means “the people who were here from the beginning”.
Thousands of years of Aboriginal culture and heritage existed before the undoing of their traditions by white settlement less than three hundred years ago. In fact, only 216 years have passed since white settlement and in that time the white settlers have dissimilated, humiliated and broken the aboriginal people.Aboriginal people today are a vast minority. Jurisdiction and laws governing the Aboriginal people Australia as a nation can not undo it’s wrongs. There is no time machine to take us back to try and ‘fix’ what was done. There can be no blame thrown around to try and make white Australians feel more ‘at ease’ with what the past shows us.
It has only been in the last 30 years that the law, policies and way of everyday white Australians thinking is starting to improve. Ignorance plays a major role in the lack of understanding the history and future of the Aboriganal people.One of the most landmark legal proceedings which drew attention from the world regarding Aboriginal land rights was the Mabo decision. This decision put the spotlight back on the Aboriginal lifestyle and changed the law giving for the first time in post white settlement a glimmer of possibilities.
Terra Nullius was declared no more. This opened the way for land to be reclaimed by Aborigines. Right now there is a case involving land rights up at The Glasshouse Mountains which has halted the development of a million dollar estate that was planned.
In conclusion, the Aboriginals today in the Australian society are still not heard.Their presence not felt and their lives a distant blur on the horizon. Only in the last week has our Prime Minister seen it fit to shut down a large part of the Aboriginal voice by closing ATSIC. are seen to be more ‘looked after’ within our system, are not cov.Bibliography Title: Aboriginal Australia & the Torres Strait Islands – guide to Indigenous Australia Author: Sarina Singh, David Andrew, Bryan Andy, Monique Choy, Hugh Finlay, Paul Greenway, Kath Kenny, Phillip Morrissey, Denis O’Byrne, Belinda Scott Published by: Lonely Planet Publications, Melbourne Year: 2001 Title:Aboriginal Australia Author: Edited by Colin Bourke, Eleanor Bourke and Bill Edwards Published by: University of Queensland Publications Year: 1998 Title: Encyclopaedia of Aboriginal Australia Volume 1 ; 2 Author: Dr David Horton – General Editor Published by: Aboriginal Studies Press for the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Year: 1994 Title: The Reality of a Dark History Author: Val Donovan Published by: Arts Queensland, Queensland State Government Year: 2002 References Internet www. atsic. gov.
au Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission.Face the Facts – News Room Fact Sheet 1997 www. spiritsongs. org/Aboriginal_Australia. htm Spirit Songs Website www.
aiatsis. gov. au Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. – table 1 figures from the Encyclopaedia of Aboriginal Australia Volume 2 as specified above in the Bibliography.
– Dr Anita Heiss – First Aboriginal author to be elected to the management committee of the Australian Society of Authors in 1998 Newspapers The Australia, Front Page Article, Howard closes ATSIC Interview Val Donovan – Author of The Reality of a Dark History.