Australia’s hidden history

  I will leave the comments open on this page in the hope that readers might let me know of some more good links on the subject.  I am constantly amazed at Australia’s ignorance of our own history.  It should not be surprising considering the white-wash of history in the media and our schools, offering only the myth of an uninhabited continent being discovered and peacefully settled by the British.  There was a 150 year war of occupation in this country.  On every front of the British colonies’ expansion there were bands of guerilla warriors who defended their ancestoral territory, in most cases to the death.A key part of the war was the mission and reserve system of the 20th century, which can accurately be described as prisoner of war camps.  But, again, Australians are largely ignorant of the mass incarceration of Aboriginal people, in most states ALL Aboriginal people, for over 80 years.Similarly the role of smallpox in subduing the armies of resistance, and effectively killing off up to 90% of the Aboriginal population prior to the “protection” era of missions and reserves.Apart from smallpox, the main agency for the extermination of Aboriginal people was the Native Police,  mobile bands of conscripted Aboriginal people lead by white officers.   When frontier “settlers” were having problems with Aboriginal people living on their new properties, the Native Police would be called in to “disperse” the problem.   In reality they shot and burnt thousands of Aboriginal men, women and children in a number of decades.   There are little reports of the Native Police as they were a covert unit similar to today’s S.A.S.  Also, since  the Aboriginal Police officers were heathen and could not take an oath on the bible, they were not allowed to give evidence in court or provide witness statements during the many enquiries into illegal killings by the Native Police.A few links to start*Norman Tindale’s tribal boundaries map This map was drawn up by one white man in the 20th century, after most of the damage was done.  His work has been criticised often by Aboriginal people as being inacurate or of often being informed of one side of conflicting stories.  These are the inherent problems of white anthropology.  However in broad conceptual terms, Tindale gives a good idea of the nature of federal and local sovereign government in Australia.When you get to the local maps, click on the language names and you access Tindales notes on that group.

See also this map from the Australian Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS).  This map is based on Tindale’s map but is less detailed.  However it has been modified to deal with some of Tindale’s mistakes as well as contemporary assertions by traditional owners regarding their own language areas.  Like Tindale’s map, it is a work in progress.

*Frontier online” An A.B.C. project with a good, concise overview of the frontier wars.   Designed as a community education program                  


*Aboriginal Resistance

“This list has been compiled from quotations in just three published sources, listed at the bottom of this page. There were, and are, many many more instances of resistance”                                                


*The Kalkadoon War

  The Kalkadoon people of the Mt Isa region of western Queensland first came into contact with the advancing European pastoralists and miners in the mid 1860s. At first the Kalkadoon people worked with the Europeans as guides and labourers. But as the number of settlers and their stock increased, the competition for the land’s resources became more intense, leading to conflict.

The Kalkadoon people began a campaign of guerrilla warfare against the settlers and their stock from about 1871 to 1884. The Kalkadoon gained a reputation as ferocious warriors with an ability to vanish into the bush.

In 1884, the Kalkadoon people killed five Native Police and a prominent pastoralist. The Queensland Government responded by sending a large contingent of heavily armed police to confront the Kalkadoon. The Kalkadoon had retreated to a defensive position now known as ‘Battle Mountain’. After fierce resistance the Kalkadoon succumbed to the greater firepower of the police.

It is estimated that 900 Kalkadoon people were killed during the six years that they fought to protect their land.
Indigenous Australia. The Land.


Queensland Aboriginals Protection and Restriction of Sale of Opium Act This is the law that made all Aboriginal people in Queensland, by way of a legal definition of race, wards of the state and restricting their rights to movement and association including marriage.  link to the act (PDF)  

Report from the 1937 conference of Commonwealth and state Aboriginal Authorities reaching a national consensus on Aboriginal policy including child removal. “Aboriginal Welfare”  

 The Shameful white History of Palm IslandA history of the Palm Island mission produced by the Foundation for Aboriginal and Islander Research Action (FAIRA)

 *Gary Foley’s Koori History Website            A very well documented history of more recent Aboriginal resistance.   Gary Foley has been one of the main players in this history.

Indigenous Australia. The Land.


27 responses to “Australia’s hidden history

  1. Lana (LJ) Docker

    Hi John Tracey-
    Very interesting website JT. Thanks for the link.

    That’s a lot of reading ‘homework’ you’ve set for me on this page. I promise you that I will read every word with an open mind.

    I meant that question I asked you at Andrew’s blog . I really do want to know. Do you know the answer? Or is it themillion dollar question?

  2. Neville Scarlett

    It’s good to have this info. on hand.
    Back in the old days no one was in much doubt about what actually happened when the land was “settled”. My father told me about some of the places in Western Victoria where “they gunned down the blacks”. I’ve checked and he was right in every case.

  3. Thanx Lana,
    I have answered (what I think is your) question on Andrew’s blog

    Neville, thanx for your comment.


  4. Pingback: Doing Battle with the Devil 2: denial, ignorance and the psychology of racism « PARADIGM OZ

  5. I’d heard of, but have never seen Tindale’s map, so thanks for the link.

    Another useful map of linguistic/ethnic boundaries is published by AIATSIS, and can be bought online (it’s a massive map, very impressive) but sections can be viewed online from their website.

  6. Thanx Jangari.
    I have put the link next to Tindale’s above.

  7. Soren

    Thank you for exposing some of the atrocities committed against the indegenious population of Australia. Lots of that stuff is covered up by the Anglo-Australian government.
    I would like to ask you however not to use the word ‘Europeans’ but be more specific and use the word ‘British’ or ‘English’. They the ones who committed the genocide in the name of English queen. Undoubtly there were some other non-English Europeans who were settling in Australia – but their numbers were small when compared to English and they had to follow the English rules as well and they do so untill today. Australia is still de facto an English colony. But it makes me (as a Dane) and probably other non-English Europeans feel very uneasy when you blame all the Europeans for something that was done by the English. I noticed there is a tendency started by the Australian government to say always ‘European settlers’ etc but it is simply to try pass away the crimes done by the English onto others and it’s like saying all the Europeans were killing the Jews during the war, while the truth is they were mostly Nazi Germans. Hope you agree with my request.

  8. SKOT

    Gee, funny how that goes Soren.
    When it suits certain agendas, Australians are now fed the myth that almost from day one Australia was a ‘diverse’, ‘multi-cultural’ nation of migrants.
    However, the truth of the history, when the hard work was being done, and any attrocities being committed, you jump back to the reality that it was BRITISH people founding and building Australia.
    You can only have it one way or the other.
    Yes, some very bad things happened to Aboriginal Australians, though not as bad as things done by Spanish and Portugese colonists in other places.
    Some Aboriginals did put up a fight, most didn’t, but they did not have anywhere near the numbers to combat the BRITISH colonialism.
    The Aboriginals are a conquered people, and they are OUR responsibility, the responsibility of the English, Scottish, Welsh, Irish…BRITISH people who founded and built this nation.
    The nation that arrogant migrants and refugees come to use up, such as yourself, and who play fast and loose with the history and heritage of this country when it suits.

    • K Phelan

      Under English and Australian law you are trespassing so of you go white boy go back to where ever they will take your kind.My people raped murdered and much worse for being in the wrong place at the write time.Take your opinions outside of your illegal occupation face to face man to man instead of hiding in that room i know what you do at night.Have some pride in your fellow man and research a full and fair opinion ok sweety see you!

  9. eddie p

    i believe that these devils will in due time loose their hold on this country,by their own doing they will sell it off bit by bit- the land and its resources to foreigners,the descendants of thieves and murderers will at the end suffer the same fate as they have dished out to countless indigenous peoples around the world,if you believe in justice and that it will at the end surely prevail then be assured that the price will be paid,what has happened in the past is no different then the wars of today where the very same peoples are involved in the terror practises of the past,raping looting murdering and so on…

    • I agree with most of your statement other than blanketing everyone with the same brush, i could do that in many ways, i am a white Christian male who is an historian, i have interviewed many cultures including muslims, aboriginals and manyothers in the goal of writing “A real testament to Australias history” which includes all the good stuff and the bad stuff, even in 1788 there were white people who were good people, there are alwasy good and bad in every race, I am disgusted at the governments coverups on the real history as much as you are, and i will pursue the truth, even it it does nothing except put a smile on a few peoples faces and gives some peace. Please keep your passion, but never blanket anyone with everyone, we are all different, for evil to reign only takes the good men to say nothing, we need to speak with facts, truth and passion. Best regards Myles

  10. Hannah

    Great site with comprehensive links to info and resources, thanks for the time to put all this together. As a white Australian I have grown up ignorant to our real history and have in the last few months felt a strong pull to acknowledge our traditional land owners and to learn about our land as it had been known for tens of thousands of years prior to ‘settlement’. I’ve realised before I can do this I need to learn the hidden truths. There is much we, as a country, regardless of our geneology, need to acknowledge and overcome as one if we want the opportunity to heal and support equality.

  11. Geoff Hills

    Just as well it was the protestant British rather than Catholics who (re)settled this country. We all know only too well how the Vatican treats non believers. A few thousand Spanish conquistadors would have left no trace of them. I wonder if thats why many men get so angry that the treat their wives like dogs.

  12. Simon Martin

    Very Intresting, thankyou for the article.


    It is disturbing but true that all immigrants with the British and those after them are living off the carcass of a stolen land and eventually the same thing will happen to the conquers as did happen to the conquered before them if the land itself does not drive them out cause them to perish beforehand.that is the way of Australia and most other places.

  14. small pox was the bio weapon of the time , intentional use of disease as a biological weapon by the tsar against my people the Indigenous Circassians is another good example from 1750’s-1864 good article thank you

  15. Terrence

    Thank you very much for this article. Great information. It makes me sick to my stomach, and brings tears to my eyes knowing what my ancestors went through.

  16. Michael Docherty

    Interesting comments acknowledging the guilt of the British and the abuse of the Aborigines.I am Scottish and have Irish blood and thankfully the history of Scotland and Ireland have not been airbrushed to the same extent although I learned more of my own history after leaving the Scottish education system.what I mean by that is that the Scottish school curriculum covers the establishment version of history, but the real historical information is available out with the School curriculum.
    I had a conversation recently with an Australian tourist regarding the treatment of the indigenous people and was surprised at how little she knew about what happened.It would appear from what I have learned from this and other blogs that it is not denial but ignorance of the facts.
    Granted some people may know the facts and choose to deny them but the impression I got from speaking to this woman was that she genuinely did not know.That it in itself in this day and age amazes me which makes this and similar blogs worth so much.

    More power to your pen.


  17. Ann Smith

    Growing up in outback South Australia, I heard stories of hunting parties where entire settlements were wiped out on the pretext that a white woman had been raped. I had relatives who made me, as a child, walk on the other side of the road to native Australians. I also remember reading a book when I was at university which described British sailors or soldiers in Tasmania placing aboriginal children in sand up to their necks and kicking their heads off as footballs – I can’t find this book anymore but I distinctly remember having to go outside and throw up. My generation knew so very little and I suspect that the generation that could relate what really happened are almost gone. Keep going please and continue document an accurate account of Australia’s hidden history.

  18. Ann Smith

    I can also add that the Psychology Department where I did my degree taught that there were scientific papers by Fleming (of penicillin fame) on the blood groups of native Australians that demonstrated that their IQ was lower than people of European origin. I’m pleased to say that none of us in that class accepted that logic. Reminds me of how science is being abused now by climate deniers.

    • Sandra Weir

      As a child in the UK I had a book where I saw pictures of aboriginal toddlers being burried in in sand with their heads about to be kicked off and their mothers screaming. I was hoping it was my childood imagination and wasn’t true, but obviously not.

  19. White Pride World Wide

    (I’ve decided to leave the following comment up. It is a good indication that the racism of the past has continued until today.)

    Are us white Australians now meant to live in perpetual guilt?
    It won’t happen. I’ve personally not ever harmed a single Abo so I will take zero responsibility.
    If you are so fond of them, go and live with them on their camps in NT and see for yourself the lowest IQ race on the planet, even lower than negroes.

    We Europeans do not and should not have to live anywhere near them or negroes for that matter. They are a filthy, savage race who murder more of each other than whites ever did.
    White guilt my fucking arse. Its marxist cunts like you who perpetuate this shit and brainwash young minds into believing we were responsible for their sorry existence.
    fuck you, you commie piece of shit. Go take a bath and read up on some facts you lowlife, left wing scum.

  20. Mark.

    There never was a genocide in Tasmania. Read the real history, not the one that has been concocted by the modern day historians. You have all been duped into believing things that did not happen. The aboriginal people have been treated very poorly no doubt, but the real history should not be hidden behind a wall of deceit and lies.

  21. Summary of the Population of Victoria,according to the Census taken on
    tho 2nd April,1871. shows the Population Males to -Females Total-Exclusive of Chinese and Aborigines
    .Males 329,016 compared to-Females 43 ,343. How did the population increase?
    In the first hundred years of Colonization , mixing of races was the norm as there were so few European women compared to men-, there was little discussion and much hiding of these relationships.

    This rewriting history and the distortion of the reality still invades our cultural perspectives today and discussion of such issues is still taboo.

    What were the tribal customs, languages, and tribal affiliations of the native people the Colonizers came across and even photographed to show their lifestyle?

    How many mixed realtionships were there? and how did we use the first Inhabitants knowledge to survive?

    My father and mothers family had claimed mainly Scottish Heritage. They were early white Pioneer -settlers in Victoria. I was therefore bewildered when my mother, a straight-laced Presbyterian, who had taught us tolerance to Aborigines, had a breakdown because her first
    great grandson had an Aboriginal father.

    He was my grandson-her first great grandson- so what had changed my mother’s attitudes?
    Delving into family history, I found mothers’ grandmother was probably Aboriginal too. It seems the secret had been with my mother all her life as my grandfather’s mother had the notation “mother unknown” written for her date of birth.
    Most so called successful pioneer families complied with the rules of the new society in word if not in deed .They had no trouble in removing from discussion or spoken memory, the background that would not be accepted; they created a new beginning that was readily accepted as fact. .
    This conspiracy of silence left a legacy of taboo that still casts a shadow over many families. To gain respect, denial of Aboriginal blood was a guarantee to gain acceptance- to acknowledge it was to be denied acceptance. ” he will pass” being the general advice for denying my grandsons heritage so he could be acknowledged as European or white!!!
    The accompanying taboos of this society by denying mixed blood isolated close relatives from each other and their mixed blood lines from their past,: thus leaving them to grow up & survive in a vacuum of chaotic confusion, denial &questionable allegiances .

    The denial of the truth for an acceptable story was created to fit in with w pioneer tradition these untruths were heralded , expanded and idolized for the achievements and development s of the new Colony – unpleasant or questionable ways events massacres and traumas were eliminated . .

    . The conditions of the new Colony t were not conducive to this positive picture or this belief system were discounted , ignored or denied and even today if mentioned cause irritation shame blame or a complete denial

    The ignorance of facts still remains within the institutions that govern us.
    . .
    Unfortunately the new floundering Colony was an isolated and climatically different continent with no native grains or domesticated animals to survive and prosper,- it was not really compatible with the European ordered Society that .London humanitarians espoused.

    TO stay landless outcasts & remain victims of Colonial oppression.The actual pioneer life of this Continent was one choice either overcome or stay under but to do so we had to oppress the original inhabitants in all its inglorious ways .We chose to fight the oppression and take land.

    . Never mind that all knew the denial of an empty continent Terra Nullius was false..Money ill gained could quickly gain respectability by behaving dressing or living in a manner that showed respectability or class. We had achieved the impossible – a good life.

    The conspiracy of silence about mixed liaisons and the denial of racial backgrounds that was condoned , , still persists today.


  22. Samuel Walters

    People are scared of reading all the 1800s documents. They are not nice to read. Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people avoid them; because they make people uncomfortable. Massacres by the British were widespread, but glimpses of Aboriginal culture pre-colonisation are also found in these documents, and includes horrific treatment of women under traditional law, wife stealing, infanticide, inter-tribal warfare and cannibalism. Walter E Roth, Tom Petrie, William Buckley, Ion Idriess, Daisy Bates, Carl Sofus Lumholtz, and many many more; all wrote that Aboriginal life pre-colonisation was harsh and cruel, and that the British settlers were murderers. Who wants to read that? Only the people that love history and love truth. And those type of people are few and far between.

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