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Australia’s heritage



( N_XkgifYc\djd`^_k8ljkiXc`XËj
v Why Indigenous people are such a vital part of @e[`^\efljg\fgc\_Xm\]XZ\[
Australia’s heritage
v How European settlers and Indigenous people ) ?fnd`^_kk_`jXkk`kl[\_Xm\
regarded each other `eÕl\eZ\[fe^f`e^i\cXk`fej_`gj
v What impact European settlement had on Indigenous people Y\kn\\e@e[`^\efljXe[efe$
v Why the land is so important to Indigenous Australians @e[`^\eflj8ljkiXc`Xej6
EUROPEANS first settled in Australia in 1788, Indigenous people had been
living here for at least 40 000 years. The Indigenous people did not use the land
as most Australians do today, but this did not mean that they did not regard it as theirs.
However, this did not stop the European settlers from taking possession of it.
Origins of Indigenous people Radiocarbon dating of a number of ancient
The origins of Australia’s Indigenous people are human settlement sites in Australia suggests that
strongly debated, and many theories have been Indigenous people may have lived here for up to
proposed. Some say they have been here as long as 100 000 years, possibly much longer. For example, it
the Australian landmass has existed. Others believe has been estimated that the buried skeleton of a man
that they came here from somewhere else, most uncovered in 1975 on the ‘shores’ of Lake Mungo in
probably from lands to Australia’s north. Despite New South Wales (a lake that has been dry for some
these varying opinions, there is, however, unanimous 15 000 years) is about 40 000 years old. Human
agreement that Australia’s Indigenous people were its bones found at Keilor, Melbourne, are estimated to
first human inhabitants. be even older — possibly about 45 000 years old.
30 000 BC New Guinea 20 000 BC New Guinea 9000 BC New Guinea

Torres Strait Torres Strait Torres Strait



Land above sea level N

Present coastline 0 500 1000 km




n Torres Strait
e s i a



A u s t r a l i a  

Possible migration route  

Major site 50 000 BC to 10 000 BC

Land above sea level, 18 000 BC
Land above sea level, present  
! ! 

N 0 500 1000 km


()''''p\XijfZZlii\[XYflk)''''#.''''Xe[0''''p\Xij9GY\]fi\k_\gi\j\ek %J\Xc\m\cjn\i\cfn\i
ZXef\j kf8ljkiXc`X]ifdgcXZ\jjlZ_XjJflk_$<Xjk8j`X%

worksheet 3.1

Language groups Clans

Early European settlers called the people they found Language groups were made up of a number of
living in Australia ‘Aborigines’ or ‘natives’, suggesting clans, each of which owned a part of the group’s
they were all the same. In reality, the Indigenous land. A clan typically had about 100 people, and
people belonged to some 500 different groups, each was made up of one or two extended families, called
with its own separate language (or dialect), laws, bands. Men commonly had more than one wife, and
beliefs and customs. so typically had lots of children. Each band hunted
for and gathered food in a particular section of
Land they
believed was the clan’s land. Clans would often meet to trade,
Own history, given to them by arrange marriages, or hold ceremonies.
beliefs, law ancestral beings

On Totemism

e Each clan within a language group had a totem


that was a sign of its people’s spiritual link to the

Each Hunted land. It might be an animal, a plant or some other
D`e[dXg language group
natural feature such as a particular weather pattern
nXpj`en_`Z_ or rock formation. As well, each individual had a
up links Practised
totem or special land feature with which he or
with their religion she spiritually identified, and hence protected.
jg`i`klXc`kp An individual’s totem was decided by the
Other groups, elders. What that totem was depended on where
especially those
with similar By
the person’s mother was when she first felt the
languages person move as a baby in her stomach.
Exchanging Meeting to Respect for common totems helped to
information, songs, organise marriages
goods and and joint bind people together.
artefacts ceremonies

Y @ec`^_kf]n_XkpflXci\X[p
n_Xk`jpflim`\nXYflkk_\ K_\n\[^\$kX`c\[\X^c\9lea`c 
REMEMBER i`^_kjf]@e[`^\efljg\fgc\kf nXjfe\f]k_\knfdf`\kp
1 =fiXkc\Xjk_fncfe^`j`kefn Zfej`[\ik_\dj\cm\jk_\Ôijk kfk\djf]k_\Blc`e
^\e\iXccpY\c`\m\[k_Xk@e[`^\eflj cXe[fne\ijf]k_\Zfek`e\ekf] g\fgc\%
g\fgc\_Xm\c`m\[`e8ljkiXc`X6 8ljkiXc`X6K_`ebZXi\]lccp#Xe[
2 N_`Z_nXjk_\cXi^\jk@e[`^\eflj aljk`]ppflim`\n%
^iflgÇXZcXe#Xe\ok\e[\[]Xd`cp# Z J_Xi\pfliZfej`[\i\[fg`e`fekf
XYXe[fiXcXe^lX^\^iflg6;iXn k_\XYfm\hl\jk`fen`k_fk_\ij
Xj`dgc\[`X^iXdkfj_fnk_\ `ejdXcc^iflgjXe[c`jk\ekfk_\`i
i\cXk`fej_`gY\kn\\ek_\j\^iflgj% m`\nj%
3 N_Xk`jXkfk\d6N_p`jXe [ 8]k\ij_Xi`e^pflifg`e`fen`k_
@e[`^\efljg\ijfeËjkfk\dfi fk_\ij#ni`k\Xj_fikgXiX^iXg_
kfk\dj j`^e`ÔZXek6 i\Õ\Zk`e^fe_fnpflifg`e`fej
THINK fek_`j`jjl\d`^_k_Xm\Z_Xe^\[
4 Jl^^\jkn_Xkjfikf]\m`[\eZ\
@e[`^\efljg\fgc\\ek\i\[ I CAN:

appreciate how long Indigenous people might have been

in Australia
SELF-DISCOVERY understand something of the structure of Aboriginal
5 X @jk_\i\Xep`e]fidXk`fe`ek_`j social groups
Z_Xgk\ik_Xk`je\nkfpfl6 defend my own view and reflect on how my opinions
<ogcX`e% might have changed over time.

EUROPEANS explorers and settlers saw no evidence of settlement or cultivation in
the land we now call Australia. They believed, therefore, that it was land they could
claim. Bit by bit, the continent was claimed in the name of the British monarch, and
declared Crown land.
Under European law in the late eighteenth
century, a people’s sovereignty over land
existed only if they farmed and built permanent
dwellings on it. The Europeans who arrived with
the First Fleet in 1788 saw no buildings or roads, Whose land?
as in England, nor any sign of crops or stock @ek_\cXk\(.''j#Xkc\Xjk(0@e[`^\efljki`Y\jc`m\[
animals. It was for them, therefore, a land over
which no-one held sovereign rights. g\fgc\#gXikf]k_\<fiXcXe^lX^\^iflg%
What the new arrivals did not realise was
that Indigenous people had lived here for tens 8e\kZ_`e^Yp
of thousands of years before they arrived. The 8YjXcfdN\jk#
Indigenous culture was different and unfamiliar, glYc`j_\[`e
as was they way they lived. Neither did they (/()#f]Xe
use the land as most Europeans did at the time; ZXdgXk
however, this did not mean the Indigenous :fZbc\9Xp#
people did not regard the land, and its resources, efn;Xic`e^
as theirs. Thus, the seeds were sown for
misunderstanding and conflict from the start.

Approximate 120 000 — Analysis of

number of pollen and charcoal at
0 Lake George (NSW)

years before 0
the present 60 suggests people
17 living there Kf[Xp#;Xic`e^?XiYfli#j_fne

116 000–176 000
Evidence of human

occupation in the _fjkf]c\`jli\Xe[\ek\ikX`ed\ek

Kimberley (WA)


f]8ljkiXc`XËj i\jkXliXekj#dlj\ldj#k_\Xki\j#
@e[`^\efljg\fgc\ _`jkfi`ZXcZ\eki\jXe[XeXhlXi`ld%
c`m\[`e8ljkiXc`XXk @k`jm`j`k\[[X`cpYpkfli`jkj]ifdXcc




n\i\Yl`ckXk>`qX% 34 000 — Humans around
Hunter River (NSW) First non-Aboriginal
31 000 — Engravings settlers arrive in
40 000 — Humans 10 000 — World’s
carved in Olary Sydney Cove (1788)

in Lake Mungo (NSW) oldest boomerangs


region (SA) used in Wyrie


23 000 — People in Swamp (SA) 800 — Stone

50 000 — Humans huts built in
40 0 Arnhem Land using
in Arnhem Land semi-permanent
00 ground edge grooved
(NT) using ochre villages in
axes; earliest in the world
0 Victoria
50 13 000 — Australia’s
oldest ornaments, 2000 — People
30 fishing with
75 000 — The world’s bone beads, made in
38 000 — Humans reach 00 hooks and lines
80 0

earliest known rock art 0 Devil’s Lair (WA)

south-west WA and 0
carved on rock outcrop
0 camp on upper Swan 00
in the Kimberley 00 10

River near Perth

60 30 800 — Humans in
20 000
8000 — New Guinea
Tasmania and Tasmania
separate from
70 000 the mainland

worksheet 3.2



Traditional Indigenous lifestyle efijZ`\ek`ÔZXccp%K_\pb`cc\[fecpk_fj\
Australia’s Indigenous people generally lived a stable lifestyle, guided n_\e`knXje\Z\jjXip%K_\pbe\nXcfk
by elders who knew the local Dreaming stories and customs. The XYflkXe[_X[X[\\g$j\Xk\[i\jg\Zk
people worked together, sharing their food and knowledge, and ]fi\XZ_c`m`e^Zi\Xkli\#Y\c`\m`e^k_Xk
living in harmony with their environment. As Captain Cook wrote \XZ_fe\#c`b\k_\dj\cm\j#_X[`kjjg\Z`Xc
in his journal about those he observed in 1770: ‘… in reality they c`]\%
are far more happier than we Europeans … In short they seemed to
set no value upon anything we gave them, nor would they part with =ifdA\Xe8%<cc`j#8ljkiXc`XËj8Yfi`^`eXc
anything of their own for one article we could offer them’.

6 ;iXnXe[Zfdgc\k\XkXYc\c`b\k_\fe\Y\cfnkfefk\
REMEMBER Xe[`jc`b\cpkf[fjf`ek_\]lkli\%Lj\k_\`dX^\j`e
1 N_p[`[k_\\Xicp<lifg\Xej\kkc\ijY\c`\m\k_\pZflc[ k_\ÊK_\eXe[EfnËj\Zk`fe#Xe[pfli`dX^`eXk`fe%
2 Lj\jfliZ\8kfc`jk\oXdgc\jf][`]]\i\ekkpg\jf] :_Xe^\jfm\ik_\cXjk Gi\[`Zk\[Z_Xe^\jfm\i
\m`[\eZ\_`jkfi`Xej_Xm\]fle[k_Xk_Xm\i\m\Xc\[ )''p\Xij k_\e\ok)''p\Xij
3 Kfn_Xk\ok\ekZflc[`kY\jX`[k_Xk8ljkiXc`XËj
4 X  :
 fej`[\ik_`jjZ\eXi`f`ejdXcc^iflgj1X]fi\`^e ICT
Xe[i\jfliZ\j\%^%#[Xdj %Pfli]Xd`cp`jfi[\i\[
7 K_`ebXYflkk_\[`]]\i\eki\Xjfejn_pgcXZ\jn_\i\
 Y 8]k\inXi[j#[`jZljjkfn_Xk\ok\ekk_`jkXjb_\cg\[
`dgXZkf]9i`k`j_Zfcfe`jXk`fe% I CAN:

5 N_Xk[fk_\m`\njf]:XgkX`e:ffbXYflkk_\ appreciate how Indigenous people lived prior to their

@e[`^\efljg\fgc\_\jXnjl^^\jkXYflkk_\hlXc`kp contact with Europeans
f]k_\`ic`]\jkpc\k_\e6 empathise with the plight faced by Indigenous people
following European settlement
think about change over time, and how this change affects
people’s lives.

26 January 1788, eleven British ships carrying about 1000 people sailed into
Port Jackson on Australia’s east coast. Most on board were convicts, about to start
life in a penal colony.
Reaction of These ‘spirits of their former dead’ Reaction of the Europeans
did not speak their language.
Indigenous people Nor did they obey their rules and
In 1788, Europeans held a
Aboriginal people thought the first range of views about Australia’s
respect their rituals and sacred Indigenous people. In line with
Europeans they saw might have places. The view that they were
been ghosts, or evil spirits. Their thinking at the time, many of
invaders, not visitors, began to the more educated would have
Dreaming provided them with no take hold.
clues as to who these pale-skinned, regarded them as ‘noble savages’
Some Indigenous people may — primitive people who lived
strangely dressed people might have been puzzled or fascinated
be. Some wondered if they might a contented life in the natural
by the first Europeans they world without the pressures
be women, as they had no beards. saw; others were undoubtedly
Some tried to find a place for them of civilisation. The observant
frightened. When exploring the Captain Watkin Tench expressed
in their kinship system by treating Lachlan River in 1817, John
them as spirits of their dead, and a much more insightful view in
Oxley described how two young 1793. He said that those he had
offering them food and women. Indigenous men reacted to the
It soon became clear that the met possessed ‘. . . a considerable
sight of his party: ‘They trembled portion of that acumen, or
‘visitors’ planned to stay. They excessively, and, if the expression
were clearing land near sacred sharpness of intellect, which
may be used, were absolutely bespeaks genius’.
sites, fencing off properties, intoxicated with
which cut access to waterholes fear . . .’.
and hunting grounds, and fishing
without permission of the elders.
Besides, more and more of them
were arriving. Indigenous people
became increasingly worried.


Most of the new European <okiXZk]ifdX[[i\jj As more towns sprang up,
arrivals, however, were neither `e(/*/kf
Indigenous people often clustered
educated nor sensitive. The @e[`^\efljg\fgc\`e8[\cX`[\ around the edges of these new
majority were convicts, many of settlements. Some found jobs as
whom had been brutalised. For 9cXZbd\e%N\n`j_kfdXb\pfl expedition guides for European
many, the view of the British _Xggp%9lkpflZXeefkY\_Xggp explorers; others became Native
explorer William Dampier might lec\jjpfl`d`kXk\n_`k\d\e% Police under the command
9l`c[_lkj#n\XiZcfk_\jXe[Y\ of British officers. A few, such
have been more acceptable. He lj\]lc%%%pflZXeefkY\_Xggp
wrote in 1688 that Australia’s lec\jjpflcfm\>f[%%%Cfm\ as Arabanoo, Bungaree and
Indigenous people were ‘. . . the n_`k\d\e%%%c\Xiekfjg\Xb Bennelong, were captured and
miserablest people in the world <e^c`j_% coached to act like Europeans,
. . . [who differed] but little from >fm\ied\ek>Xq\kk\# in the hope that they might
brutes’. *Efm\dY\i(/*/ encourage others to become more
Many Europeans would like them.
have been scared by the sight of
advancing dark-skinned, naked
men with bones in their noses
and ears. They would not have
understood that multi-scarred
chests and missing front teeth were
not meant to terrify. They were
signs of initiation the Indigenous
people wore proudly.
Be like us!
Captain Arthur Phillip, Australia’s
first governor, had been instructed
to do everything he could to
make friendly contact with the
‘natives’ and to ‘. . . live in amenity
[friendship] and kindness with
them’. Any Europeans who hurt or
killed Indigenous people were to
be punished.
The problem was that Europeans
expected Indigenous people to act
and live as they did. They could
not, for example, understand
why Indigenous people did not
have a god or churches, towns
or cultivated land. Their kinship
systems seemed especially odd
(where an ‘uncle’, for example, was
also a ‘father’). Most importantly,
they did not understand that the
land they were clearing for farms,
towns and pasture might contain
sacred sites that the traditional
owners had tended for generations, Xifle[Jp[e\p]fik_i\\[\ZX[\j%?\jX`c\[n`k_k_\\ogcfi\i
or hunting grounds that provided DXkk_\n=c`e[\ijfeknff]_`jmfpX^\jXe[nXjXg\ijfeXc]i`\e[f]>fm\iefi
their food. Many Europeans DXZhlXi`\%?\nXjjX`[kfY\Zflik\flj#gc\XjXekXe[Xnfe[\i]lcd`d`Z#n_`Z_
assumed the Indigenous people nXjXjfliZ\f]dlZ_]le]fik_\e\nj\kkc\ij%K_fl^_jlggfik\[Yp_`j@e[`^\eflj
could just be moved on. n_Xk_\[`[Y\ZXlj\`knXjk_\fecpnXpkfjlim`m\%

Analyse art as evidence What are the Indigenous
people doing? What does
this tell you?

Does their appearance or

behaviour suggest some
adherence to traditional
Indigenous practices?
How are the Indigenous
people and Europeans
interacting? What does
this suggest?

Is there anything to
suggest the artist was
influenced by stereotypes?

If an Indigenous artist had

painted this scene in 1830,
what differences (if any)
might there have been?
Would some things have
been included or left out?
How differently might the
people have been drawn?
K_`j(/*'gX`ek`e^Yp8l^ljklj<Xic\\ek`kc\[ÊEXk`m\jf]E%J%NXc\j# Think about what this
Xjj\\e`ek_\jki\\kjf]Jp[e\pËj_fnj@e[`^\efljg\fgc\`e]ifekf]X reveals about point of
<lifg\Xej$fecp_fk\c%@k`jXgi`dXipjfliZ\% view.

With the passage of time, many as a race that would sadly, but settlers, with their guns and
Indigenous people were ordered inevitably, die out, and tried to horses. They did try to fight back,
to live on special reserves. They make the process as painless as but had difficulty in sustaining
were told it was to protect them. possible. More heartless settlers their efforts. Their numbers were
Christian missionaries at first, saw them as ‘pests’ who kept also being very rapidly reduced
and later government officers, ‘camping’ on their farms and by introduced diseases, against
administered these reserves, ‘hunting’ their stock animals. which they had no resistance.
which included the Lake Condah These included measles, whooping
(Portland) and Coranderrk Control and conquer cough, influenza and smallpox.
(Healesville) reserves in Victoria In the decades that followed the
(see pages 16–17). Well-meaning arrival of the first Europeans,
efforts to make the Indigenous tensions were growing on both Fg`e`fef]
people ‘European’, however, cut sides. Indigenous people were >lek_\i(/*'j 
across kinship rules and traditional being shot at when they ventured f]k_\8Yfi`^`e\j
cultural practices. For instance, onto European farms to get food
the people were forbidden to speak — many of which were on their K_\`i`ek\cc\ZklXc]XZ`c`k`\jXi\Yp
their language or to take part in traditional hunting grounds — or efd\Xej`e]\i`fiXj`j^\e\iXccp
Indigenous cultural events. when they tried to get to nearby jlggfj\[2k_\`id`e[`jhl`k\
At this time in history, there rivers. In turn, European settlers ZXgXYc\f]Zlckli\2f]k_`j@_Xm\
were no sustained efforts to and convicts were being attacked c\Xjkk_\pfle^d\eXe[Yfpj
preserve Indigenous culture or by raiding parties of Indigenous m\ipjffeXZhl`i\Xe[jg\Xb
the basic rights of the Indigenous warriors. k_\<e^c`j_cXe^lX^\Zfii\Zkcp
people to fair and equal treatment. In the end, the Indigenous Xe[Õl\ekcp%
More compassionate Europeans people had no chance of resisting =ifdI`Z_Xi[9iffd\#8Yfi`^`eXc
saw the land’s original inhabitants the growing flood of European 8ljkiXc`Xej#8cc\eXe[Len`e#(0/)


@knXjk_\cfjjf]k_\cXe[n_`Z_nXjnfijk%8jk`d\ Zc`e^kfk_\j\kkc\d\ekjn_\i\YpZcfne`e^#Y\^^`e^#
n\ekfe#k_\8Yfi`^`e\ji\ki\Xk\[fin\i\[i`m\e Xe[j\cc`e^k_\`infd\ek_\pZflc[jlim`m\%;`j\Xj\
flkf]n_fc\k\ii`kfi`\j`ekfk_\`e_fjg`kXYc\]ffk_`ccj Xe[c`jkc\jje\jj`eZi\Xj\[%K_\iX^jk_\pn\i\^`m\e
n_`Z_]fid\[k_\`iYfle[Xi`\j%%%K_\jljkX`e`e^ Y\ZXd\ef`jfd\#[XdgXe[Ôck_p#]fik_\p_X[efk
Z\i\dfe`\jZflc[efkY\_\c[#d\eXe[nfd\e Y\\ekXl^_kkfnXj_k_\d2jc\gk`eYpe`^_kk_\p
Zflc[efkm`j`kk_\`ifneY`ik_gcXZ\jfiZXiipflkk_\`i Yi\[dfi\[`j\Xj\#Xe[k_\jlim`mfijZfl^_\[k_\`i
[lk`\jkfk_\jg`i`kj%K_\\o`c\[ZXdgjn\i\iXZb\[Yp nXpkf[\Xk_%Ë
k_\nfd\e%%%K_\Yc`^_k\[ZXdgj[n`e[c\[#k_\`i =ifdAl[`k_Ni`^_k#K_\:ip]fik_\;\X[#Fo]fi[
]ff[`eXZZ\jj`Yc\fik_\_lek\ijXe[^Xk_\i\ij Le`m\ij`kpGi\jj#D\cYflie\#(0/(#g%).%Al[`k_Ni`^_knXj
kffn\XbkfÔe[Xe[Yi`e^`k`e%K_\\c[\ijXe[k_\ Xn\cc$befnegf\kXe[Xn_`k\8ljkiXc`Xen_f]fl^_k
Z_`c[i\e[`\[%Jfd\Y\^Xekfc\Xm\k_\ZXdgjXe[ gXjj`feXk\cp]fik_\i`^_kjf]@e[`^\efljg\fgc\%

1 N_XknXjXÊefYc\jXmX^\Ë6N_pd`^_kjfd\_Xm\
2 <ogcX`ek_\Z_Xe^`e^eXkli\f]k_\@e[`^\eflj
3 K_`ebf]k_i\\i\Xjfej`e\XZ_ZXj\ n_p<lifg\Xej
gX^\*]fiXe\oXdgc\ fiXkXYc\%
4 @]pfl_X[Y\\eXe@e[`^\efljg\ijfec`m`e^Xkk_`j

Analyse art as evidence

5 J\c\Zk\`k_\ijfliZ\8#:fi;%:fdgc\k\k_\]fccfn`e^ nfi[j% Fe\d\dY\in`ccjcfncpeXiiXk\k_\k\ok
]fipfliZ_fj\egX`ek`e^1 [li`e^k_\gi\j\ekXk`fe%E\^fk`Xk\ifc\jXZZfi[`e^
 X  @jpflij\c\Zk`feXgi`dXipfij\Zfe[XipjfliZ\6 kfjb`ccjXe[`ek\i\jkjf]^iflgd\dY\ij%8]k\ik_\
N_p6 gi\j\ekXk`fej#i\Õ\ZkXjXZcXjjfen_Xke\n`ej`^_kj
 Y ;\jZi`Y\k_\[i\jjXe[XepYf[p[\ZfiXk`fejf] k_\j\gi\j\ekXk`fej^Xm\Xe[_fn\]]\Zk`m\k_\pn\i\
k_\@e[`^\efljg\fgc\`ek_\Xik%N_Xk[f\jk_`j `e_\cg`e^pflkfc\Xie%
 Z  N _Xk\m`[\eZ\[f\jk_\XikZfekX`e#`]Xep#XYflk
`ek\iXZk`fejY\kn\\e@e[`^\efljg\fgc\Xe[k_\ 7 K_\e`e\k\\ek_$Z\eklipZXikffeXYfm\j_fnjknf
\Xicp<lifg\Xej\kkc\ij6N_Xk`ek\igi\kXk`fejZXe @e[`^\efljg\fgc\d`d`Zb`e^<lifg\Xej%8kk_\k`d\#
pfl[iXn6 <lifg\Xejk_fl^_kk_Xkk_`jY\_Xm`flinXjgiff]f]
 [ ;f\jk_\Xikj_fnXepjl^^\jk`fef]Y`Xjfek_\ k_\c\jj\i`ek\cc`^\eZ\f]@e[`^\efljg\fgc\%N_Xk[f
gXikf]k_\Xik`jk#fii\gi\j\ekXk`fef]n_XkXi\ pflk_`eb6J_Xi\pflim`\njn`k_XgXike\i%
6 Nfib`ek\Xdjf]Ôm\g\fgc\%NfibflkXZi\Xk`m\ I CAN:

nXp#lj`e^Yf[pcXe^lX^\#gifgjXe[dlj`Z#kf understand how cultural misunderstandings can lead

Zfem\p]fik_\ZcXjjk_\`e]fidXk`feZfekX`e\[ to conflict
`ejfliZ\=%:_\Zbk_\d\Xe`e^f]Xccle]Xd`c`Xi roleplay the presentation of a text, as an alternative
learning strategy to demonstrate empathy
analyse a painting to consider aspects of early
Indigenous–European contact.
Europeans was to prove deadly for Australia’s
Indigenous people. A great many died: introduced diseases
against which they had no immunity, alcohol, starvation and
depression all took their toll. Many others were killed. Estimates
vary, but some historians suggest that around 20 000 Indigenous
people may have been killed during raids and frontier battles.
The good intentions of Captain Phillip, and the friendliness
initially shown by many Indigenous people towards European
settlers, soon soured into bitterness on both sides.
At the heart of most of the killings in Western Australia, is quoted as
was a struggle for land. European saying, ‘A black man claims nothing
settlers saw the land as an economic as his own but his cloak, his weapons
resource they could exploit. As and his name . . . He does not
they pushed out the frontiers understand that animals or plants
of their settlements, they came can belong to one person more than
increasingly into contact with those to another’.
who believed they owned the land. Not all new settlers were heartless
Conflict was inevitable. European though. Records report the kindness
settlers generally resented the fact and friendship shown, for example, to
that Indigenous people were the Bangerang people by the pioneer
blocking the progress of what the Edward Curr, who settled on the
settlers considered was a ‘superior Murray River around 1840.
race’. Indigenous people found such
attitudes confusing. Yagan, a k`\[lg`eZ_X`ejXe[_X[k_\`i]\\k
notable Indigenous resistance fighter Yliekjfk_\pZflc[efk\jZXg\%


Before 1820

1820–40 1860–80

1840–60 Sparsely settled @]@e[`^\efljg\fgc\i\klie\[kfk\e[k_\`ijXZi\[j`k\j#

after 1880
0 250 500 km NXk\i_fc\jn\i\jfd\k`d\jgf`jfe\[#XjnXjk_\Õflifi


worksheet 3.3

%%%X[Xpnflc[Y\j\c\Zk\[Xe[k_\ Smallpox 1 N_pnXjcXe[jlZ_XjfliZ\f]
e\`^_Yfli`e^j\kkc\ij`em`k\[#n`k_ JdXccgfo#X[`j\Xj\ ZfeÕ`Zk`ek_\[\ZX[\j]fccfn`e^
k_\`i]Xd`c`\jkfXg`Ze`Z%%%8]k\i k_\Xii`mXcf]<lifg\Xej6
[`ee\i%%%k_\^\ekc\d\ef]k_\ 2 <ogcX`en_pjdXccgfonXj
gXikpnflc[kXb\k_\`i^lejXe[ m`ilj#b`ccj`eXYflk
[f^j#Xe[XZZfdgXe`\[Ypknf *'g\iZ\ekf]ZXj\j# @e[`^\efljg\fgc\%:fej`[\i
fik_i\\Zfem`Zkj\imXekj#nXe[\i c\Xm`e^jlim`mfijYX[cp _fn`kd`^_k_Xm\X]]\Zk\[k_\d
k_ifl^_k_\Ylj_`ej\XiZ_f] jZXii\[%K_\[`j\Xj\nXj[\ZcXi\[ Yfk_g_pj`ZXccpXe[\dfk`feXccp%
YcXZb]\ccfnj%Jfd\k`d\jk_\pnflc[ \c`d`eXk\[]ifdk_\nfic[`e(0..%
nflc[jlZZ\\[`eb`cc`e^XnfdXe# 3 Ni`k\XgXiX^iXg_`epfli
fi#`]clZbp#XdXefiknf% efk\Yffbj`ei\jgfej\kf\XZ_
 X N_pnXjlj`e^EXk`m\Gfc`Z\
Native troopers ZXdgjXZc\m\ikXZk`ZYpk_\
In 1842, the Victorian <lifg\Xej6
Government set up a body of  Y N_pd`^_k@e[`^\eflj
Native Police, made up of kfY\lj\[`ek_`jnXp6=fi
Indigenous troopers under the \oXdgc\#n_XkY\e\Ôkj
control of European officers. d`^_kk_\i\_Xm\Y\\e
Similar forces were set up in `eY\`e^XEXk`m\Gfc`Z\
New South Wales in 1855, and  Z N_Xkcfe^$k\id`dgXZk
in Queensland in 1859. Native d`^_kk_\`iafYj#Xe[k_\
Police usually worked in areas ifc\jk_\p_X[kfg\i]fid#
other than those where their own <ogcX`e%
communities lived. This meant 4 :fejkilZkXk`d\c`e\f]jfd\
they did not have to attack their jdXccgfo b\p\m\ekjk_XkfZZlii\[[li`e^
own people. Because officers k_\\Xicp[\ZX[\jf]<lifg\XeÆ
JdXccgfonXjZXii`\[kfk_\e\n @e[`^\eflj`ek\iXZk`fe%
frequently led from the rear
during a raid, those attacked did
ZfcfepYpk_\j\kkc\ijf]k_\=`ijk THINK
=c\\k%@e[`^\efljg\fgc\_X[ef 5 ;`jZljjXjXZcXjjkfn_Xk\ok\ek
not always associate the attack `ddle`kpX^X`ejk`k%9pDXp(./0# k_\e\^Xk`m\`ek\iXZk`fej
with Europeans. This lessened `k_X[b`cc\[_Xc]k_\@e[`^\eflj Y\kn\\edXepf]k_\<lifg\Xe
the likelihood of survivors taking g\fgc\Xifle[GfikAXZbjfe% j\kkc\ijXe[@e[`^\efljg\fgc\
revenge on settlers. Xi\kpg`ZXcf]_ldXeY\_Xm`fli
6 ;iXnXd`e[dXg#lj`e^

Y\ÊdXepZ_`c[i\efig_Xe\[Ë %


appreciate why conflict occurred

following European settlement
appreciate the impact of European
settlement on Aborigines
empathise with the way Indigenous
people felt at their treatment.
gained control of most habitable Australian land by the end of
the nineteenth century. But this did not happen without a number of battles and
massacres. Some were in retaliation for attacks on settlers by Indigenous warriors, who
were angered by the loss of their land and the treatment of their people. Two Indigenous
massacres are briefly presented here.
Myall Creek massacre Kurnai massacres KiX[`k`feXccXe[jf]
In June 1838, 12 local stockmen By 1858, the Kurnai population dX[\lgk_\BlieX`
(11 of whom were ex-convicts) had reduced from about 2000 g\fgc\%K_`jj\Zk`fef]k_\M`Zkfi`Xe
were on the hunt around the New (in 1840) to only 80 as a result of f]D\cYflie\%
South Wales town of Inverell for settler attacks and massacres and
Indigenous people they suspected the new diseases introduced by Traditional
had stolen cattle. They rode to the sealers and whalers. The official land of the
nearby Myall Creek Station, where reasons given by the Victorian
a stockman, Andrew Eaton, had Government for this decline were boundaries
befriended a clan of Indigenous starvation due to ‘scarcity of game’, Vic.
people and offered them shelter. alcoholism, and ‘in some cases’
The younger men of the clan cruelty and poor treatment by
were away cutting bark at the settlers.
time. The stockmen tied up the
28 people they found there
— women, children and a few
older men — and herded them
into a stockyard. There they were
brutally beaten and hacked to
death, and their bodies burnt. After
being acquitted following an initial
murder trial, seven of the attackers
were later retried and hanged.

the R



Identify gaps in the evidence

Primary sources are important documents for
historians. Yet a primary source does not necessarily REMEMBER
provide a true or complete picture of what happened 1 N_Xkgifdgk\[k_\DpXcc:i\\b
in the past. Some facts might be distorted; others dXjjXZi\6
might be left out (leaving gaps). The following 2 9pn_XkXggifo`dXk\
two primary sources each describe reasons for the disappearance of g\iZ\ekX^\[`[k_\gfglcXk`fe
Australia’s Indigenous people.
8m`\n# K_\m`\nf] THNK
\ogi\jj\[Yp ;XcX`g`#Xe 3 Jkl[pjfliZ\8ZXi\]lccp%
X<lifg\Xe @e[`^\eflj
 X  < ogcX`en_pk_\BlieX`
^fm\ied\ekjgfb\jg\ijfe`e g\ijfe]ifdHl\\ejcXe[#\ogi\jj\[
D\cYflie\Ëj8^\`e(/0- `ek_\cXk\(/''j g\fgc\n\i\XkX^i\Xk
 Y Jl^^\jkn_pk_\XkkXZb
K_\]Xmfli`k\k_\fip%%%`jk_Xk N\n\i\_lek\[]ifdfli fek_\dYpk_\<lifg\Xe
k_\[`jXgg\XiXeZ\f]k_\eXk`m\ ^ifle[#j_fk#gf`jfe\[#Xe[ j\kkc\ijnXjjfYilkXc%
iXZ\j`j[l\kfk_\Zil\ckpXe[ _X[fli[Xl^_k\ij#j`jk\ijXe[
dXc`^e`kpf]k_\n_`k\j\kkc\ij% n`m\jkXb\e]ifdlj%%%N_Xk Identify gaps in the
K_fj\n_fXi\XZhlX`ek\[n`k_ XeldY\in\i\gf`jfe\[ evidence
k_\_`jkfipf]k_`jZfcfep]ifd XkB`cZfp%%%K_\pjkfc\fli 4 Nfibn`k_XgXike\i%9Xj\[fe
`kjÔijkj\kkc\d\ekXi\XnXi\k_Xk ^ifle[n_\i\n\lj\[kf pfliXeXcpj`jf]jfliZ\8Xe[
efjlZ_Z_Xi^\ZXeY\Xcc\^\[ ^\k]ff[#Xe[n_\en\^fk i\cXk\[k\ok#e\^fk`Xk\n_fn`cc
X^X`ejkk_\M`Zkfi`Xeg\fgc\#Xe[ _le^ipXe[kffbXY`kf]Õfli ni`k\\XZ_f]k_\j\[`Xcf^l\j1
k_Xkk_\YcXZbiXZ\_Xj[\ZXp\[ fib`cc\[XYlccfZbkf\Xk#k_\p  v n_XkXBlieX`nXii`fin_f
Xe[`jiXg`[cp[p`e^flk]ifd j_fkljfigf`jfe\[lj%8cc
ZXlj\jhl`k\flkj`[\k_\gfn\i k_\p^`m\ljefn]fiflicXe[
f]k_\n_`k\dXekfZfekifc% `jXYcXeb\kfeZ\Xp\Xi%  v n_XkXj\kkc\i`emfcm\[`ek_`j
Who is the speaker in each case? Was each speaking from a position of strength or ]Xd`cp%
weakness?  X  : fdgXi\Xe[[`jZljjpfli
Who do you think might have been the audience of each ‘speaker’? What reaction gf`ekf]m`\nn_fpfl
might each speaker be hoping his words will create in the audience? Think about n\i\ `eÕl\eZ\pfli
how this would influence what was said and what was not said. [\jZi`gk`fe6N_`Z_f]k_\
Based on what you know, can you identify any gaps (left-out facts) in what each knfXZZflekj[fpflk_`eb
speaker says? Why might these details have been left out? Y\jki\Õ\Zkjk_\i\Xc`kp6
The article on this attack reported that
 Y N_Xk[f\jk_`j\o\iZ`j\
‘every man who could find a gun or k\XZ_pflXYflkk_\
a horse’ joined in. The Kurnai people [`]ÔZlck`\j]XZ\[YpX
were surrounded as they gathered _`jkfi`Xen_fnXekjkf
around a large waterhole. The attackers befnn_Xki\Xccp_Xgg\e\[6
kept shooting until they had run out of
ammunition. The report concludes: ‘More ICT
than a hundred of the blacks were killed’.
5 Lj\k_\@ek\ie\kkfgi\gXi\X
There was no European law-enforcement nfi[gifZ\jj\[i\gfikfefe\
body in Gippsland until 1844. It was a f]k_\]fccfn`e^dXjjXZi\j1
time of attack and counterattack: Kurnai X k_\G`eaXiiX`eZ`[\ek`e
warriors plundered European barns and
crops and speared cattle (as access to N\jk\ie8ljkiXc`XfiY k_\
food sources on their traditional lands 9Xkkc\DflekX`e`eZ`[\ek`e
had been denied) and Europeans formed Hl\\ejcXe[%Lj\Xjg\ccZ_\Zb\i
hunting parties to massacre groups of kfd`e`d`j\\iifi%
Kurnai people.

Kurnai contact with Europeans was at I CAN:


first limited to a few sealers, sailors appreciate how brutally many

and shipwreck survivors. After 1840, Indigenous people were treated
they came increasingly into contact with research details of some
European settlers wanting to develop Indigenous massacres
Kurnai traditional lands.
use ICT tools to research and
document a report.
about the conflict between European colonists and Aboriginal people
suggest the latter were easy targets. Indigenous people may not have had the
guns of the Europeans, or often their manpower, but they did not lack courage or skill.
Their bush skills, for example, could not be matched by the Europeans. Here are the
stories of two Indigenous men who fought back.
Pemulwuy At first, his tribe lived in harmony with the
The Bidjigal warrior Pemulwuy, sometimes called the Europeans, who had established a colony on the
Rainbow Warrior, belonged to the Eora language Swan River in 1829. However, arguments soon arose
group (the area surrounding Sydney). Between over land and resources. The British mistook the
1790 and 1802, he led many attacks against colonial Nyungar tradition of burning the land as an act of
farms and settlements, some of which were highly aggression. In 1831, a Nyungar was shot while taking
organised, large-scale guerrilla operations. He and potatoes from a settler’s garden. The settler saw it
his men fought so fiercely in a battle in 1797 that he as theft; the Nyungar would have seen it as taking
almost gained control of the newly settled town of the land’s resources, to which he was entitled. Yagan
Parramatta. sought revenge for this killing. After more battles, a
reward was offered for his head.
When Yagan was finally captured, a European
named Robert Lyon fought hard to spare his life. He
jfl^_kYpjfc[`\ij# admired Yagan’s courage and wished to study him.
G\dlcnlpb\gk\cl[`e^ Yagan was exiled to a small rocky island, but escaped
k_\d2feZ\_\\jZXg\[ after six weeks. The colonists were angry about this;
c\^`ifej%?\Xcjfjlim`m\[ as punishment, they killed Yagan’s father and brother,
i\g\Xk\[nfle[j#Y\`e^ and increased the reward on Yagan’s head.

Governor King became increasingly frustrated

by Pemulwuy. He offered rewards, including a
free pardon, to any convict who would bring him
his head. That happened in 1802; Pemulwuy was
murdered. His decapitated head was sent to England
to be studied by scientists. They had heard a lot
about the native Australians, but had never seen one.
Although glad he was dead, Governor King had a
grudging respect for Pemulwuy. He said of him:
‘Altho’ a terrible pest to the colony, he was a brave
and independent character and an active, daring
leader of his people’.

Yagan (see also page 10) was part of the Nyungar
tribe of south-western Western Australia. A tall man
(described as being over 1.8 metres), he was both K_`jjkXkl\f]PX^XenXj\i\Zk\[fe?\ii`jfe@jcXe[`ek_\
feared and admired by the British colonists. JnXeI`m\i%

For 12 months, Yagan managed cockatoo feathers were tied to
to avoid capture, continuing to the head as decoration. It was
fight for his people. Then, in July exhibited in Liverpool until 1964
1833, he approached two shepherds when it was buried in Everton
he knew, asking for flour. When Cemetery. In 1997, almost 165
his back was turned, one of them, years after being sent to England,
William Keats, shot him. A Yagan’s head was returned to
reward was given for the killing Australia for a proper burial.
of Yagan, but the editorial of the Today, the remains of a great
Perth Gazette described it as a ‘wild many Aboriginal people are still
and treacherous act’: ‘We are not scattered throughout British
vindicating [forgiving] the outlaw, museums, causing great distress
but, we maintain it is revolting to Aboriginal communities.
to hear this lauded [praised] as a They believe the souls of their
meritorious [good] deed.’ ancestors cannot rest until their
Yagan’s head was sent to bodies are returned. So far, British
England in 1835. The hair was museums have been reluctant to K_\_\X[f]PX^Xe#gX`ek\[Yp
combed, and black and red oblige. IfY\ik?Xm\cc

REMEMBER 4 X =ifdk_\c`jkf]X[a\Zk`m\j[\jZi`Y`e^nfi[j 
1 N_p[`[G\dlcnlp[\m\cfgXjlg\ieXkliXci\glkXk`fe Y\cfn#j\c\Zkk_fj\pflk_`ebdfjk<lifg\Xe
Xdfe^_`jg\fgc\6<ogcX`e% Zfcfe`jkj`ek_\\Xicpe`e\k\\ek_Z\eklipd`^_k
2 N_Xk\m`[\eZ\`jk_\i\`ek_`jjgi\X[kfjl^^\jkk_Xk _Xm\lj\[kf[\jZi`Y\g\fgc\c`b\G\dlcnlpXe[
Yfk_G\dlcnlpXe[PX^Xen\i\Yfk_]\Xi\[Xe[ PX^Xe%K_\ej\c\Zkk_fj\dfjk@e[`^\efljg\fgc\
i\jg\Zk\[Ypjfd\<lifg\XeZfcfe`jkj6 d`^_k_Xm\lj\[kf[\jZi`Y\k_\d%

3 CffbXkjfliZ\;Y\cfn%@knXjkXb\efe*DXiZ_)'', m`fc\ek]\Xic\jjjXmX^\i\Y\cc`fljYfc[

 Y Ni`k\knfgXiX^iXg_jXYflkfe\f]k_\j\
 Z  N
5 Nfib`ejdXcc^iflgjkf[\j`^e&Zi\Xk\Xdfeld\ek
 X  ?fn[fpflk_`ebk_\@e[`^\efljg\fgc\`ek_\
YXj\[fek_\`e]fidXk`fe`ek_`jjgi\X[ %8ccfZXk\
 Y N_pn\i\@e[`^\eflji\dX`ej#jlZ_Xjk_\j\
 Z  ? fnnflc[pfl]\\c`]k_\i\dX`ejf]Xd\dY\if] I CAN:

f]pfli]Xd`cpn\i\[`jgcXp\[`eXdlj\ld6N_Xk appreciate the contribution of people such as Yagan and

le[\icp`e^Y\c`\]j[fpfl_Xm\k_XkdXb\pfl]\\c Pemulwuy in fighting for their rights
k_`jnXp6 recognise that there will always be two or more
perspectives about historical events
use my creative thinking and skills to design a
commemorative monument to Pemulwuy.
an Aboriginal reserve set up in 1863. It was home for nearly
60 years to many Kulin people, who came from around the present-day Port
Phillip area. Farming, baking, schooling and house building were commonplace
activities during much of the reserve’s often thriving existence. Its closure in 1924 was
a severe blow to the Indigenous people.
Coranderrk was established when the Victorian
Government set aside land near present-day New South Wales
Healesville. The decision followed a petition
presented by Aboriginal people which read, in part: A.C.T.

South Australia
‘could we have our freedom to go away shearing and
harvesting, and come home when we wish’. Ebenezer Echuca

A thriving settlement Coranderrk

In 1863, around 40 Indigenous people moved to live Lake
Condah Tyers
on what was then uncleared bushland at Coranderrk. Framlingham
By 1874, the population had grown and the rich land
had been largely cleared, fenced and sown with crops. Aboriginal reserve

Hop production began in 1872; two years later the Bass Strait
0 125 250 km
people were also managing 450 head of cattle and
running a dairy. The reserve’s superintendent, a
lay preacher named John Green, had been donating k_\fk_\ijn\i\Xk=iXdc`e^_Xd#CXb\:fe[X_#<Y\e\q\i#
money from his own salary to help the Indigenous :ldd\iX^leaXXe[CXb\Kp\ij%
people develop their settlement. In 1874, however,
he was forced to resign after an argument with the By the 1880s, Coranderrk was making enough
Victorian Government. He wanted the Indigenous money, and harvesting enough food, to support itself.
people to retain more of the profits from the reserve’s In fact, it did so well that local European farmers and
hops farms. landholders were envious of its success. The problem
this posed for the residents of Coranderrk was that
they did not legally own the land. There was also
the view, popular at the time among many European
colonists, that it was the ‘manifold destiny’ (obvious
fate) of the Aboriginal people to eventually die out.
Hence, encouraging and promoting their efforts to
be self-sufficient and successful would be counter-

Coranderrk closes
The Board for the Protection of Aborigines had
wanted to close down Coranderrk since 1874. When
this prospect became an imminent risk, residents of
Coranderrk marched on the Victorian Parliament
in protest. Their actions prompted a government
inquiry and subsequent report, lodged in 1882. The
report criticised the board, recommending that the
Jfd\f]:fiXe[\iibËji\j`[\ekj reserve be helped, not closed.

worksheet 3.4

The Indigenous people grew (and sold)

arrowroot, prize-winning hops and
vegetables. The farming was organised
by the men of the reserve. As well as
tending the fields, these men earned money working
on nearby properties. Their enthusiasm was a key
part of the reserve’s early success.

Disease was a recurring

problem at Coranderrk,
and tuberculosis, smallpox and venereal
disease all took their toll. As well as
causing deaths, these diseases deprived
the reserve of labour and children. In
fact, half of all children born on Aboriginal
reserves before 1900 died in infancy.
Fred Kruger: born Germany 1831; arrived
Australia early 1860s; died 1888.
No title (Aboriginal group at Coranderrk ) c. 1866 –87
albumen silver photograph 13.2 x 20.2 cm
Gift of Mrs Beryl M. Curl, 1979
National Gallery of Victoria

Four years later, however, the Victorian Aborigines moved to the mission station at Lake Tyers. In 1924,
Act of 1886 was passed, which did what the board Coranderrk was officially closed.
had been unable to do. People of mixed descent But the story continues. In recent years, Aboriginal
under the age of 34 were no longer allowed to live people have made efforts to reclaim Coranderrk.
on reserves. This order reduced Coranderrk’s able- In 1998, the Indigenous Land Corporation bought
bodied and enthusiastic workforce. Stock was sold, some land on the old reserve, which was returned to
and most of the remaining people on the reserve were descendants of the original community.

6 Gi\[`Zkn_Xk`dgXZk:fiXe[\iibd`^_k_Xm\_X[
REMEMBER fe8ljkiXc`Xe_`jkfip`]`k_X[Y\\eXccfn\[Xe[
1 N_XknXj:fiXe[\iib#Xe[n_pnXj`kjfjlZZ\jj]lc6 \eZfliX^\[kf[\m\cfgXjXZfddle`kp%
2 EXd\knf]XZkfijk_Xknfib\[X^X`ejk:fiXe[\iibËj
Zfek`el`e^\o`jk\eZ\feZ\`kY\ZXd\XjlZZ\jj]lcXe[ THINK
gifÔkXYc\m\ekli\% 7 N_Xk[f\jk_\jkfipf]:fiXe[\iib#Xe[k_\\oXdgc\
COMMUNICATE k_\[Xe^\ijf]XZZ\gk`e^jk\i\fkpg\jn_\ejkl[p`e^
3 Gi\gXi\Xk`d\c`e\kfi\Zfi[jfd\b\p\m\ekj[li`e^ _`jkfip6;`jZljjXjXZcXjj#c`jk\e`e^ZXi\]lccpkfk_\
k_\\o`jk\eZ\f]:fiXe[\iib% m`\njf]fk_\ij#\m\e`]k_\pXi\[`]]\i\ek]ifdpfli
4 9\j`[\j:fiXe[\iib#eXd\k_\fk_\i8Yfi`^`eXc fne%
[XpkfneZcfj\jkkf\XZ_f]k_\j\j`oi\j\im\j% I CAN:

appreciate why Coranderrk was such a successful

SELF-DISCOVERY Indigenous venture
5 CffbZXi\]lccpXkk_\g_fkf^iXg_jf]:fiXe[\iibXe[ understand the demoralising impact that the closure
`kjg\fgc\`ek_`jjgi\X[%N_Xk[fk_\j\gi`dXip of the reserve had on its residents
recognise the importance of keeping an open mind about


Truganini now at peace

One hundred years after Truganini’s So why was there such an interest on missions. Robinson gave Truganini
death, her skeleton was cremated in Indigenous remains? Nineteenth- food, shelter and blankets to be his
yesterday, following the Tasmanian century scientists thought they were guide and interpreter.
Government’s decision to return it to witnessing a human species becoming In 1835, the 200 or so survivors
the Indigenous people. It has been extinct. (Many then agreed with of those people Robinson had rounded
stored in the Tasmanian Museum for Robert Knox who argued in his 1850 up were transported to a makeshift
the last 29 years. publication The Races of Man that settlement called Wybalenna on cold,
Asians and dark-skinned people were windy Flinders Island. Here Robinson
a different race to Europeans.) set about teaching them to dress, speak
Truganini was the daughter of and behave like Europeans.
Mangerner, who was the chief of the The people thought their move to
people of Recherche Bay in Tasmania. Flinders Island was temporary. When
By the time she was 18, she had seen it became clear this was not so, they
European sealers kill her mother became resentful and depressed. Their
and her uncle, abduct her sisters and links with their ancestral lands were
mutilate the man she was to marry broken. They tried to hold onto some
before leaving him to drown. She was of their traditions, but were continually
also raped. being forced to adopt a new culture and
Between 1830 and 1834, she new ways of thinking. New diseases
and her then partner Wooraddy were killing them. Three years later,
accompanied George Robinson on only 93 people remained.
several expeditions into the wilds of By 1847, Wooraddy had died
Tasmania. Robinson, a lay preacher and there were only 45 people left.
and builder, had been appointed That year, Truganini and the other
by Governor Arthur to persuade survivors were moved to Oyster
Indigenous people to come and live Cove in Hobart.

nXjfecp(*'Z\ek`d\ki\jkXcc %

Truganini’s body was buried in

a women’s jail in Hobart in 1876.
Two years later, the Royal Society
of Tasmania obtained her remains,
and her skeleton was displayed in
the Tasmanian Museum until 1947.
This gross indignity was something
Truganini had greatly feared. Museums
and medical scientists had argued over
the rights to the remains of her friend
William Lanney, who died in 1868.
She had been promised this would not
happen to her. I\j`[\eZ\f]k_\8Yfi`^`e\j#=c`e[\ij@jcXe[#(/+-YpAf_eJb`ee\iGiflk
1 ?fnnflc[pfl[\jZi`Y\k_\
2 N_pd`^_kk_\KXjdXe
3 Jl^^\jkn_pk_\9cXZbC`e\[`[
4 N_Xk_ldXei`^_kjn\i\[\e`\[
5 <oXd`e\k_\g_fkf^iXg_f]k_\
Jfd\f]k_\jlim`mfijXkFpjk\i:fm\`e(/-'%N`cc`XdCXee\p`jZ\eki\YXZbXe[ cXe^lX^\jl^^\jkk_\pZflc[
Kil^Xe`e``jcp`e^`e]ifekf]_`d% Y\]\\c`e^#Xe[n_p6

The Black Fingal

6 ?fnnflc[pfl]\\ckfnXi[j
c`]\Xe[[\Xk_ 6<ogi\jjpfli


Campbell Town
Robinson’s mission was another 

attempt by Governor Arthur to Oatlands
7 @ek_\c`^_kf]pflii\jgfej\
‘round up’ the country’s remaining kfXZk`m`kp+#jl^^\jkn_p

Indigenous people. In 1830, Arthur  Hamilton Kil^Xe`e`nXjgi\gXi\[kf_\cg

had ordered the Black Line — a  IfY`ejfe%N_Xk[f\jk_`jk\cc


Richmond pflXYflk_\i6
‘sweep’ of the south-east region.

New Norfolk Sorell

8 @e)'')#i\dX`ejf]Kil^Xe`e`Ëj
More than 2000 European men formed Hobart
a human chain to herd any Indigenous 0 25 50 km
Eaglehawk Neck ]fifm\i(''p\Xij#n\i\

people they found in this area down   Tasman ÔeXccpi\klie\[kfKXjdXe`X
into the Tasman Peninsula. But they ]fiZi\dXk`fe%;`jZljjXjX
captured only an old man and a boy. 7 October 20 October 18 November ZcXjjn_Xkk_`ji\m\XcjXYflk
12 October 24 October 22 November k_\nXpXkk`kl[\jkfnXi[j
Governor Arthur’s actions were 16 October 1 November 25 November
a response to the growing unease _Xm\Z_Xe^\[fm\ik_\cXjk
of many new settlers, who feared Z\eklip%Gi\gXi\knffik_i\\
attacks by Indigenous people. Many i\c\mXekhl\jk`fejY\]fi\fi
of these attacks, however, were a [li`e^[`jZljj`fekf_\cgpfl
retaliation against the Europeans for Zfeki`Ylk\d\Xe`e^]lccpkf
killing Indigenous people and taking n_Xk`jjX`[%
Truganini’s ashes will today
over their land. Over the 27 years since
be cast over the waters of I CAN:
Tasmania’s first convict settlement

D’Entrecasteaux Channel, appreciate why Truganini was

was established on the Derwent River such a significant Australian
in 1803, the Indigenous population which lap her ancestral discuss how attitudes
was rapidly reduced by murder and home of Bruny Island. towards Indigenous people
have changed
introduced disease.
contribute to a class discussion.
TORRES Strait Islands are the hundreds of islands, many tiny, scattered between
the tip of Cape York, in Queensland, and Papua New Guinea. Many have been
inhabited for thousands of years. Their
Indigenous people are a culturally unique PAPUA NEW GUINEA Daru Island

group, distinct from the Indigenous Bristow Island

Isl l

Aborigines of mainland Australia. Little is

wa Is Boigu Kaumag Island
Ka awa Island
t a K Dauan Stephens
Ma Island Saibai Island
known of them prior to 1871, as written Turnagain Island
Island Dalrymple

records do not exist and detailed study Torres Strait Gabba Island
Tudu Island
Zagai Island

of them and their culture was not carried Mabuiag Island

Yam Island
Sassie Island

out until the early 1900s. ARAFURA

Badu Island Island
Suarji Island
Getullai Island
Mt Ernest Island
SEA West Island
Before the Europeans arrived, it is known that the Hawkesbury Island
Hammond Island Wednesday Island SEA
Torres Strait Islanders (hereafter called Islanders) Goods Island
Friday Island Horn Island
Mt Adolphus Island
traded with Cape York Aborigines and the people Prince of Wales

r Albany Island

Island St
o ur
of Papua New Guinea in goods such as turtle oil, End
e av Turtle Head Island

shells, spears and red ochre. They also had their CAPE YORK
own religious cults; some practised calling up the AUSTRALIA 0 40 80 km
spirits of the recently dead, ritual beheadings and
cannibalism. It seems Island society was brutal Jfd\f]k_\Kfii\jJkiX`k@jcXe[jk_\
and violent at times, particularly when raiding Y`^^\ife\j
surrounding islands for food.
what is now called the Torres Strait. Although it is
Here come the visitors … likely that others passed through these waters earlier,
Initial European contact was made in 1606 when the there is no evidence to support association with the
Spanish navigator Luis Vaez de Torres sailed through Islander people.

<ilY@jcXe[ Yp<[n`eGfiZ_\i#

After 1770, when Captain Cook
proclaimed part of Australia’s
eastern coast as Crown land (see
page 29 for more details), many
British ships favoured Torres
Strait as a passage to the Pacific.
It was not long, therefore, before
European pearlers and fishermen
began occupying the resource-rich
waters. Their competition with
Islanders for the sea’s resources
caused many confrontations.


Europeans as permanent
There was no significant
European impact on Islander life
until the arrival of the London
Missionary Society on Darnley
Island in 1871. The Islanders
generally embraced Christianity;
but this decision had a significant
impact on the way they lived.
For example, women now had to
completely cover their bodies and
discard any traditional accessories.
In the hot, equatorial climate,
such clothing would have been
uncomfortable; however, they
risked being disciplined by the
mission court if they did not
Missionary teachers also G_fkf^iXg_kXb\e`e(0)(f]Xm`ccX^\fek_\`jcXe[f]DXYl`X^
discouraged traditional songs Yp=iXeb?lic\p
and dances in order to minimise
adherence to the ‘old ways’. Some with a type of job (for example, Controller, John Douglas, would
destroyed Islanders’ artefacts; Cook, Captain) and some from not allow Islanders to be classified
others were sold to passing ships or the Bible (for example, David, as Aboriginal people under the
buried. Matthew). Queensland Aborigines Protection
Islanders were also required to Initially, the Islanders enjoyed Act 1897. However, this changed
take a second name. These were more independence under with his death in 1904. Thursday
selected in a number of ways: some European control than did Island, for example, then became a
because they were the name of mainland Aboriginal people. European settlement that Islanders
known Europeans (for example, This was mainly because the could now only visit, and only
Joe, Tom), some by a connection then Queensland Government during the day.
Independence — lost and gained
The Queensland Government in the early twentieth
century systematically discriminated against
Islanders, deliberately limiting their freedom. They 8j]XiXjk_\<lifg\Xejn_fXii`m\[`ek_`jcXe[
were not, for example, permitted to enter bars, and `e(.//n\i\ZfeZ\ie\[#k_\cXe[nXjk_\`ij%
were not allowed to have sexual relations with anyone @kcXk\iY\ZXd\XZfddfem`\nk_Xkk_\cXe[
outside their race. Those of mixed descent were nXjk\iiXelcc`lj%8j`e[`ZXk\[\Xic`\i`e
transferred to the islands of Moa and Kiriri. The
government also appointed representatives for the Xe[Yl`ckg\idXe\ek[n\cc`e^jfe`k%K_XknXj
Islanders, but these were ineffective and were later <lifg\XecXnk_\e%
replaced with elected Island Councils.  @e(/./#k_\Kfii\jJkiX`k@jcXe[jn\i\ZcX`d\[c`b\
Frustrated by the loss of ability to run their own k_\Hl\\ejcXe[ZfXjkc`e\_X[Y\\e`e(..'Yp:ffb Xj
affairs, Islanders working on government-owned k\ii`kfipY\cfe^`e^kfk_\9i`k`j_dfeXiZ_%K_`jXZk`fe
boats rebelled against the Queensland Government nXjkXb\eYpk_\^fm\ied\ekf]k_\k_\eZfcfepf]
in 1936 by staging a strike. It lasted nine months; the
outcome was that Island Councils were allowed to
have more substantial input into the management of
their boats and other affairs.
Side by side as soldiers
During World War II, around one-quarter of the
Islander population enlisted to fight, enjoying equal
treatment and acceptance alongside their fellow
Australian soldiers (even if receiving only half their
pay!). This experience was a turning point in the
attitudes of many white Australians (particularly
those who fought alongside Islanders), and former D\i@jcXe[#Zfddfecpi\]\ii\[kfXj
restrictions against Islanders began to be lifted. In DliiXp@jcXe[#fe\f]k_\dXepKfii\jJkiX`k@jcXe[j
1947, the first Islander was allowed on the mainland
to cut cane, and by the 1960s all were free to seek DXYfZ_Xcc\e^\[`ek_\Hl\\ejcXe[Jlgi\d\:flikk_\
work and settle anywhere on the mainland. i`^_kf]k_\^fm\ied\ekkfgi\m\ek
Torres Strait Islands today cXe[j%K_\Zflikilc\[X^X`ejk
In 1990, the status of Islanders as a separate DXYf%JfDXYfXe[_`j^iflg
Indigenous group within Australia was acknowledged :flikf]8ljkiXc`X%@kZflc[
with the formation of the Aboriginal and Torres Y\jX`[k_XkY\c`\m`e^`ek_\
Strait Islander Commission. <lifg\XeZflikjpjk\dnXjXe
The isolated location of the Torres Strait Islands, XZkf]^i\Xk]X`k_feDXYfËjgXik#
and the limited access Islanders have to adequate ^`m\egXjk`ealjk`Z\jX^X`ejk_`j
finance and professional services and core skills, have g\fgc\%
made advancing economic development challenging. <[[`\DXYf
Despite these obstacles, many island communities (0*-Æ0)
and individuals are becoming more proactive in
developing businesses and projects that contribute
towards employment and increasing income.  Fe*Ale\(00)#X_`jkfi`Z[\Z`j`fenXjdX[\%K_\?`^_
Economic opportunities are being boosted by
tourism; many visitors come to the Islands wanting [\Z`j`fe_Xj_X[dXafiZfej\hl\eZ\j]fiXccf]8ljkiXc`XËj
to see traditional Islander ceremonies such as the @e[`^\efljg\fgc\%@dgfikXekcp#`ki\Zf^e`j\[le[\i
Coming of the Light Festival (which celebrates the cXnk_Xk8ljkiXc`XnXjefkk\iiXelcc`lj`e(.//#Xe[k_Xk
arrival of Christianity) and the Tombstone Unveiling <lifg\Xej\kkc\d\ekf]8ljkiXc`X[`[efkXlkfdXk`ZXccp
Ceremony (which traditionally concludes a three-year n`g\flkeXk`m\k`kc\%
mourning period after the death of a loved one).
worksheet 3.5


European colonisation
and modern influences
have had an enormous
impact on the retention
of traditional island
customs. Currently,
K_\Kfii\jJkiX`k@jcXe[\iÕX^nXj efforts are being made
[\ZcXi\[XÕX^f]8ljkiXc`XYpk_\ to revitalise traditional
culture; Islanders are
j\XYcl\ #k_\cXe[^i\\e Xe[k_\g\fgc\YcXZb % being encouraged to
K_\n_`k\j_Xg\`ek_\Z\eki\`jk_\jpdYfc`Z@jcXe[\i promote and observe
_\X[[i\jj%K_\Ôm\gf`ekjf]k_\jkXii\gi\j\ekk_\ island customs, teaching
k_\`dgfikXeZ\k_Xkk_\jkXijfeZ\n\i\]fij\X the younger generation, to ensure that the cultural
eXm`^Xk`fe% identity of Torres Strait Islanders remains intact.

5 :fdgXi\jfliZ\j9Xe[;%
 Y Fe\`jXe`ccljkiXk`fe%<ogcX`en_Xkgfk\ek`Xc
1 N_\en\i\k_\Kfii\jJkiX`k@jcXe[jZcX`d\[`ek_\
 Z  N
2 N_XknXjAf_e;fl^cXjËjZfeki`Ylk`fekfk_\_`jkfip
THINK ZfeZcl[\]ifdk_`jZfdgXi`jfeXYflkk_\`dgXZk
3 X  :
 fgpXe[Zfdgc\k\k_\]fccfn`e^kXYc\kf f]k_\Xii`mXcf]<lifg\Xejfek_\@jcXe[\ij6
[fZld\ekk_\`dgXZkf]k_\Xii`mXcf]<lifg\Xe DESIGN AND CREATIVITY
6 Lj\jfliZ\j>Xe[?]fi`ejg`iXk`fekf[\j`^eX
Gfj`k`m\ E\^Xk`m\ `e]fidXk`fe`ek_`jjgi\X[Xe[@ek\ie\ki\j\XiZ_XYflk
:_Xe^\kf flkZfd\]ifd flkZfd\]ifd k_\kiX[`k`feXc@jcXe[\iZ\i\dfe`\j%9\]fi\pfljkXik#
nXpf]c`]\ Z_Xe^\ Z_Xe^\ ni`k\Xc`jkf]gf`ekjX^X`ejkn_`Z_k_\jlZZ\jjf]pfli
7 ;fpflk_`ebk_\[\j`^ef]k_\Kfii\jJkiX`k@jcXe[\i
 Y E fn[iXnXj`d`cXikXYc\`epfliefk\Yffb%K_`j pfld`^_kZ_Xe^\`k#Xe[n_p%
 Z ;`jZljjpfliknfZfdgc\k\[kXYc\jn`k_XgXike\i
kf`[\ek`]pj`d`cXi`k`\jXe[[`]]\i\eZ\j%Kfn_Xk 8 ;`jZfm\idfi\XYflkfe\f]k_\cXi^\iKfii\jJkiX`k
\ok\ek[`[k_`j\o\iZ`j\_\cgpflkfle[\ijkXe[ @jcXe[jf]pfliZ_f`Z\%@em\jk`^Xk\Xep`jjl\j`k
k_\[`]]\i\ekm`\ngf`ekjk_XkdXp\o`jk`eX Zlii\ekcp]XZ\j#Xe[n_Xk`jY\`e^[fe\kfX[[i\jj
dlck`ZlckliXcjfZ`\kp6 k_\j\%<mXclXk\k_\\ok\ekkfn_`Z_k_\Xii`mXcf]k_\
 [ < ogcfi\#k_ifl^_[`jZljj`fe#n_XkmXcl\jpfl <lifg\Xej_XjX]]\Zk\[g\fgc\ËjnXpf]c`]\k_\i\Xe[
k_`ebXi\e\\[\[kfjlggfikXjfZ`\kpdX[\lgf] ni`k\Xj_fiki\gfikfepfliÔe[`e^j%
[`]]\i\ek\k_e`Z^iflgj% I CAN:

4 Nflc[pfl_Xm\ZcXjj`Ô\[k_\p\XijY\kn\\e(/.(Xe[ appreciate the similarities and differences between the

(0'+XjXk`d\f]<lifg\Xej\kkc\d\ekfi<lifg\Xe history of Australia’s Indigenous peoples
`emXj`fe6<ogcX`e#Xe[aljk`]p#pflii\jgfej\% explain how Torres Strait Islanders and Europeans might
have reacted to each other and why
critically evaluate two sources of evidence to reach
 ,$ How would you feel if you heard that an
invading force was setting out to herd your
 '$ What typical reactions did European settlers community into a corner of your local region?
and Indigenous people have to one another (a) Describe your emotions in a diary entry.
immediately after the first settlers arrived? Why (b) In a paragraph, suggest why Indigenous
did this change? (pp. 6–11) people caught up in the Tasmanian Black
 ($ Study the image below. Explain how it Line hunt may or may not have felt as you do.
demonstrates the vital dependence of Indigenous  -$ (a) Explain why the ‘Coranderrk experiment’ was
people on the land and its resources. (p. 5) such a severe blow to Indigenous people.
(b) What impact might this venture have had on
the people’s attitudes and behaviour in the
longer term? (pp. 16–19)
 .$ This primary source is a photograph of
Aboriginal trackers taken in the nineteenth
century. Their bush skills were extraordinarily

What advantages would these skills have

provided Indigenous people in:
(a) evading capture
(b) making lightning raids on European camps
(c) surviving on the land?
 )$ Why did the early settlers assume they could
simply take over the land on which Indigenous  /$ Give one example in each case to demonstrate
people lived? (p. 4) Roleplay a conversation with why the attitudes of many early settlers towards
a partner to demonstrate the settlers’ attitudes. Indigenous people were (a) ignorant, (b) arrogant,
Present your roleplay for the class if asked. (c) deceitful, (d) cruel.
 *$ Why might Pemulwuy and Yagan be called '&$ Create a timeline listing some of the more
two of the first Indigenous resistance fighters? important events affecting Indigenous people
(pp. 14–15) referred to in this chapter.
 +$ List key factors that caused the dramatic ''$ Explain why the Mabo decision was such a
reduction in the Indigenous population following landmark for Torres Strait Islanders and for
European colonisation. (pp. 8–11) Indigenous people generally. (p. 22)

the R



(a) What is the message of this poster?

(b) In what way does it show that the rights of
'($ Early European settlers drove Indigenous people Indigenous people are to be respected?
off any land they wanted. Describe why this (c) Why do you think the story shown in the
action would have had such a significant long- poster is depicted with no words?
term effect on Indigenous people. (d) Suggest why Indigenous people might have
')$ Write a short speech that Truganini might give been suspicious of such a poster.
if she were able to come back to our society. Be '+$ In 1868, an Aboriginal cricket team toured
prepared to present your speech to the class. England, scoring better than the first white
'*$ Many early settlers treated Indigenous people Australian team. Nearly 40 years later, despite
very badly, but not everyone was unfair. being regarded by many as the fastest bowler in
The poster below, called ‘Governor Davey’s Australia, Jack Marsh was asked not to appear
Proclamation to the Aborigines, 1816’, was at the NSW selection trials. He would not be
commissioned by Colonel George Arthur, chosen as he was Aboriginal.
the fourth governor of Van Diemen’s Land (a) Why was the treatment of Indigenous
(Tasmania). He ordered that copies of this poster cricketers so unfair in the nineteenth century
be nailed to trees. and early twentieth century?
(b) Based on what you know of Indigenous
sportspeople today, how have
attitudes changed? Why do you
think this is so?
',$Jimmie Barker was only 11 when
he was recruited, along with other
Indigenous boys, to work as a
stockman. Kevin Gilbert recorded
in his book Living Black some
comments Jimmie made about his
early lessons in life:

Discuss in small groups what you

would say to Jimmie today if he
visited your classroom. Think of
three specific questions you would
like to ask him and indicate why
you would like them answered.
'-$ Think about what you have learnt
in this chapter and any activities
you could have done better.
Describe in what ways you expect
to do better on similar tasks in the

moiety: describes one of two parts of

IkccWhoe\a[oj[hci a clan. Children inherited the moiety

totem of either their mother or their
father. The other moiety totem of the
ancestral beings: ancestors of frontier: the outer boundary of a settled Kulin people besides the wedge-tailed
Aboriginal people believed to have area eagle was the Australian raven.
emerged during the Dreamtime. They Governor Macquarie: the fifth governor Native Police: Indigenous men who
created all life forms and landscape of the colony of New South Wales were paid and trained to help European
features, some merging back into these (from 1810 to 1821). After his term officers put down resistance by other
when their work was done. in office, Britain began to regard the Indigenous people
artefact: an object made by humans colony more as a free settlement than as native title: a ‘bundle of rights’ that
bias: a leaning towards one particular just a convict prison. may include the right to hunt, fish
view hop: a plant, the dried parts of which are and conduct ceremonies and to be
brutalised: describes a person who has used to brew beer consulted about future development
been so cruelly and harshly treated hypothesis: an opinion about how ochre: a particular type of soil, which
that they, in turn, become heartless ranges in colour from pale yellow to
something might have happened, based
and unfeeling towards the suffering of dark red. Mixed with water, it becomes
on what evidence is available, but
others a type of paint.
cannibalism: the act of eating one’s own which has not been proved correct
hunters and gatherers: people who are penal colony: a settlement for prisoners
species being punished for their crimes by
clan: the part of an Indigenous language members of what is usually a group that
wanders from time to time within a set being removed from the place or
group that owned a particular section country in which they lived
of land (about 100 people) territory to find food
immunity: the state of being protected petition: a request for something that
colony: a settlement whose ruling is asked of a governing body (e.g. a
authority is linked to or directly from catching a particular disease
Indigenous: describes the original government agency) and detailed in a
controlled by that of another country
formal document
convict: a person declared guilty of known inhabitants of a region.
prehistory: history before recorded
a crime and (during the nineteenth Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders
century) sent to distant colonies to are Australia’s Indigenous people.
serve out his/her term pioneer: a person who was among the
initiation: a sacred ceremony in
Crown land: land belonging to the first to settle in a particular region
traditional Indigenous culture in which
government (the Crown) primary source: a source of evidence
a boy becomes a man
cult: a branch of religious worship of that existed or was created during the
kinship: describes the relationship that period being studied
some kind, often (but not always) exists between members of an extended
associated with more extreme beliefs reserve: a set area to which many
family Indigenous people were sent to
and behaviour language group: a group of Indigenous
dialect: a language that is a version of live, initially under the control of
people who speak the same language; missionaries and, later, government
another. Speakers of different dialects sometimes a language group is called a
will not necessarily understand one authorities
‘tribe’. sovereignty: describes a situation where
Matthew Flinders: an English explorer a group of people has authority over
Dreaming: information that describes
the Dreamtime, explains Aboriginal who was the first known European to something (e.g. land)
people’s relationship to the land and circumnavigate Australia in 1802 stereotype: an image that someone may
sets out their traditional rules of mind map: a sketch that connects have of another person or place based
behaviour loosely arranged facts and ideas by on first impressions or preconceptions
economic resource: a resource that can linking lines (and brief statements) to (e.g. colour of skin, dress, observed
be used to make money show their connections behaviours, general appearance)
elder: an older Indigenous man or mixed descent: describes someone superintendent: a person responsible for
woman highly respected for their whose parents do not come from the overseeing the activity of a particular
knowledge of culture and customs same racial group (e.g. a Chinese operation
exploit: to take full advantage of, mother and a Afro-American father; or, terra nullius: a Latin term that literally
although this might mean disregarding in the case of Australia, an Indigenous means a land without owners, or ‘land
the rights of others father and a non-Indigenous mother) of no-one’