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. http://www.samuseum.sa.gov.au/orig/tindale/boundaries_intro.htm
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
“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” http://users.tpg.com.au/2juls/resistance.html
*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) http://www.foundingdocs.gov.au/resources/transcripts/qld5_doc_1897.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)http://www.faira.org.au/lrq/archives/199901/stories/shameful-white-history.html
*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. http://www.kooriweb.org/foley/indexb.html