With Australia Day just past it’s important to keep reminding people that the history of this nation holds many many terrible facts which ‘white Australia’ would prefer to forget.
‘We can’t be held responsible for what our ancestors did’ is a common statement by white settlers in this country who don’t realise the privileged lives they lead today are possible because of the on going destruction of aboriginal people, land and culture.
‘Get over it … it was over 200 years ago’ is another common phrase heard when people rightfully bring up Australia’s true history.
These people seem to assume that the effects of the British invasion of Australia had on Aboriginal people lasted for a very short time.
And that aboriginal people were treated as equals from the beginning of colonisation.
Anyone who knows history or who cares to take a moment to research Australian history is aware of the many forms of oppression Aboriginal have faced and continue to face in this country.
Aboriginal people like most ‘uncivilised’ people were thought to be savages and not people who were due the same respect and rights as white settlers.
In fact the colonisers believed that Aboriginal people needed to be cared for, the government controlled every aspect of their lives, where they could live and work, how they spent their wages and even if they could keep their children.
(With the introduction of the Basics Card, the intervention and the forced fostering of Aboriginal children not much has changed to this day… )
However some ‘lucky’ Aborigines were able to be exempted from their race with this fabulous card!
The holder of such a card would be allowed to live in the wider ‘white’ community but in gaining these rights would be required to lose their Indigenous identity and culture, their family and their homelands.
“Exemption Certificates were granted only to those Aborigines who demonstrated to the Chief Protector’s satisfaction the capacity to survive in the outside world. In other words, they were imbued with capitalist values concerning money, time and work. But the standards required for exemption were high; certificates were not freely issued’ Thom Blake.
This was part of a broad plan by the invading government to rid the country they called Australia of its original inhabitants.
In 50 years we should forget that there were any Aborigines in this country.—A.O. Neville, Western Australian Chief Aboriginal Protector.
“Of the Australian black man we may certainly say that he has to go. That he should perish without unnecessary suffering should be the aim of all who are concerned in the matter”- Anthony Trollope (1873).
“Whether the Blacks deserve any mercy at the hands of the pioneering squatters is an open question, but that they get none is certain. They are a doomed race, and before many years they will be completely wiped out of the land”- Harold Finch-Hatton (1885). Aboriginal Genocide
While Aboriginal people still survive on the Australian mainland the colonisers of Australia were successful in the complete genocide of Tasmanian aborigines. Read about their extermination here.