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European Arrival In Australia History Essay

Info: 1860 words (7 pages) Essay
Published: 1st Jan 2015 in History

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A thousand years ago, Australia was already populated by the aborigines. Living primarily along the foreshores of the harbor, they fished and hunted in the waters and hinterlands of the area, and harvested food from the surrounding bush. In the 18th-century the British explored with the aim of increasing the size of their Empire. The British then sent convicts to the Australian continent because their prisons were extremely overcrowded, and the US colonies were no longer accepting British prisoners. Over a period of time, the aborigines progressively decreased in number.

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This paper is motivated by a need to understand that the European arrival in Australia is an invasion. As more and more Europeans came to Australia to settle, the settlers did not have enough space. As they wanted to enlarge their settlement, they took over more Aboriginal land. The Aboriginals were not happy with what the settlers were doing. They didn’t like how they were being treated and how the land was just taken away from them. Dissatisfaction with the loss of land deepened day by day. At last Aboriginals and Europeans attack each other.

The aim of this paper, therefore, is to argue that the coming of Europeans to Australia was a white invasion not a settlement. European immigration to Australia caused the aborigines to have no land to live in and to suffer the loss of population through disease. The scope of the paper is confined in three ways: first, the period in this discussion is the first 100 years of settlement. Secondly, it concerns the [persecution by the Europeans to aborigines as well as unexpected outcome]. Third, only those who came to Australia are discussed.

To achieve this aim, the paper is structured as follows. The paper examines three key issues: first, the simple life of aborigines before the settlers came to Australia; secondly, the atrocity carried out by the Europeans on the aborigines; and thirdly, the diseases passed from Europeans to aborigines. The paper ends with a discussion of the horrible effects the Europeans give to the aborigines.

Life before the Europeans

The first point I would like to make is before Europeans came to Australia, aborigines had a really peaceful life. For example, up to 45,000 years ago, aborigines have existed at Keilor near Melbourne [Broome, R.(1994):pp9]. They came because of warfare, famine or curiosity. At that time, there was no technology for them to construct their life. Perhaps for this reason, the environment shaped their semi-nomadic life. The men hunted for the larger game or marine creatures such as turtle or crocodile because these required stamina and speed. When the men were hard working, the women supplied the food to them, they brought in yams, fruits, vegetables, small animals or seeds for bread-making. Even the children collected fruits and small game[Broome, R. (1994):pp12]. They all made contribution to the family’s food, thus men, women and children were partners in ensuring survival. There is no doubt aborigines enjoyed their simple and happy family life because everyone were taking part into their daily work. What’s more, aborigines not just worked as individual or just a family of three. The basis of the kinship system was that the aborigines regarded their whole group as a family. Thus the family members such as father, mother, sister, brother, aunt, uncle were extended to everyone in the tribe[Broome, R. (1994):pp16-17]. They always went out as a group to for looking for food, helped each other, worked together. It could be imaged that there are many traditional communities in which the aborigines lived, each group was marked by a strong solidarity based on kinship ties which provided security and intimacy. Each aboriginal group was held together because all the members shared the same world view and meanings about what life should be. What we can see is the aborigines’ intimate relationship with nature, and their non-materialistic philosophy, made it truly an admirable culture. Of course it was by no means a perfect society, but the aborigines would never aware one day their harmonious life devastated by the Europeans. 。。。。。。。。。。。。。。。。。。。。。。。。。。。。。。。。。。。。。。。。。。

Land loss and massacres

My second argument revolves around the fact that after the Europeans came, aborigines were pushed from their homeland wherever Europeans went and lose their homeland. In 1799, Sir Joseph Banks had seen Australia was the most suitable place to live, the natives would provide little opposition which would allow the convicts to defend themselves. Clearly, Europeans had done a lot of research to find which part of world is the best to develop their settlement. Faced to Australia, they would be so excited because there was least resistance and weak sense of self-protection. In 1788, the permanent settlement began comprised around 1350 people including ship crews, British officers, marine guards and their families, and convicts [http://www.convictcreations.com/research/identity.htm]. Perhaps the European settlers had been told to treat the natives with respect. However, most of the settlers were convicts who acted rough and brutal, they disobeyed the rule. This is why so many aborigines killed in the massacres. Aborigines were forced to retreat surrender to take out their land. When the Europeans settled on the land close to an aboriginal tribe, the aborigines had to moved to another land to protect them pushing away or being killed[Canberra: AGPS, 1974]. By the end of the nineteenth century the white men had settled on most of the livable land in Australia. As a result the Aboriginal population in Australia had dramatically decreased. From the statistic: There was below 1000 Aborigines in Victoria, below 5000 in Western Australia, below 25000 in Northern Territory, below 10000 Aborigines in New South Wales and there was less than 100 in Tasmania. These numbers have decrease from numbers of more than 100000 Aborigines as settlers took over Australia. [http://socyberty.com/history/the-arrival-of-europeans-to-australia/] We should have an option that Europeans were not just a settlement but a white invasion. Despite their original idea is not mean to cause a huge massacre and they want to share with natives, the aborigines were overrun by the white Europeans, they had nearly all their land taken away from them and very many of them were killed in massacres. To aborigines, settlement brought these horrible things which finally lead us to conclude that Europeans were invaders.

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Disease and health issues

Third, and most importantly, it is that Europeans not just bring the massacre but also bring the diseases to aborigines. The Australian environment was very harsh for a community without any technology, but they adapted very well. Their technology was not advanced , but it served them pretty well, and bred up their population somewhere between 200,000 and 500,000. Before Europeans came to Australia, the aborigines of Australia were a strong and healthy race of hunters and gatherers whose active lifestyle promoted good health[Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1991: 3]. There were little evidence could be found that aborigines were illness or have disease, as a result it is no chance that they suffered diabetes, renal failure, coronary heart disease, cancer[ Canberra: AGPS, 1988: 1-2]. Also aborigines had strong oral pharmacopoeia transfer from generation to generation[ Alice Springs: IAD Press, 1995: 44-72]. It is no doubt that Europeans don’t came to Australia, aborigines can have a healthy and non-illness life and free from disease, although they have not got any technology. However, things not just happen in our expected. After the European settlers arrived in Australia, aborigines began to suffer badly from diseases, to which they had no natural resistance. In particular, two plagues of small-pox in 1792 and 1822 swept through the Aboriginal populations and wiped many of them out [Canberra: AGPS, 1988: 1-2]. Tuberculosis, smallpox, venereal diseases and leprosy had disastrous effects, while influenza, measles, whooping-cough and the common cold could be just as deadly to a people with no previous contact with them. In detail, smallpox destroyed the majority of aborigines close to Sydney within three years of white settlement in 1788. Then the disease spread down the Murray to the south of Australia, shattering great number of aborigines. Aborigines wanted to use song to stop this disease, but the “smallpox song” just gave them psychological comfort, really powerless to protect the deadly disease. It is not hard for us to conclude that for aborigines, they had no resistance to protect these unknown disease, Europeans didn’t realize that aborigines live a non-illness life while they have strong immunity to prevent these illness. There is only one result that because Europeans passed through the diseases, the population of aborigines declined rapidly. We can see that diseases played a vital role in the breakdown of traditional aboriginal society. By reducing numbers of aborigines it broke down the strength of the kinship system and the links between the generations. Also the birth rate was lowered. It’s the major cause of disappearance of many aboriginal groups, with a much greater impact than violence or any other factor. 。。。。。。。。。。。。。。。。。。


To aborigines, they just want a simple natural life which can provide them to live. Including spiritual and emotional alienation from their land, family and culture. Aborigines have a spiritual link with the land which provides a sense of identity, and which lies at the centre of their spiritual beliefs. In other words, land is the key of aboriginal health and well-being. There is no doubt what Europeans had done out of aboriginal people’s endurance limit, they attack these settlers to protect their homeland, but compared with the strong Europeans, aborigines were powerless. They can only keep on moving their family to offer their spiritual land to these savage. This loss reduced their chance for normal hunting and gathering, further affect their food supply and diet balance. The loss of land also reduced aborigines of their self-confidence and spirit. They thought giving their land is the only thing they can do, but they cannot realize that most of their lives would be also taken away. Diseases robbed aborigines of their spirit and ability to survive. Just several decades ago, disease were already being felt in the settled areas of southern Australia, then the aborigines groups breakdown rapidly. The impact of disease on the social structure of aboriginal groups and on population was profound.


To sum up, European arrived in Australia is totally damage the natives, the aborigines suffer great loss of the land and population. Generally, Europeans’ settlement evolve to an invasion.


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