The Australian Invasion

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The European invasion of Australia in 1780 impacted upon the lives of all the Aboriginal people that lived in and around the invaded areas. When Captain Cook landed in Australia, he declared it as Terra Nullius, and this alone gives a significant insight as to the mentality of the British and their willingness to acknowledge the Aboriginal people and the importance that the land played in their daily lives. As the invaders brought with them their laws, ideals, diseases, livestock and people, the need for land increased and settlers began to venture outwards from the main settlements, the frontier broadened and the Aboriginal population began to shrink. The encroachment upon the land meant that many Aboriginal people were now being forced to come into closer contact with the Europeans. In doing this, the frontier affected the Aboriginal people in ways that ensured that their lives would never be the same and that European ideals affected their lives not only on the frontier but for generations too follow. The invasion of the Australian frontier affected areas in Aboriginal lives such as dispossession, disease, large-scale violence, which led to resistance.

The area of land ownership and dispossession is a controversial issue due to the fact that Captain Cook and those that were to follow did not acknowledge the Aboriginal inhabitants as being the custodial owners of the continent. This fact was due to the ideals that the Europeans held as to what humans should live in; they did not see any European style dwellings or villages, they could not see any visible boundaries. Therefore the Europeans declared that The Aboriginal inhabitants held no ownership of the continent and thus declared it Terra Nullius. The Europeans did not understand that the Aboriginal people led an itinerate lifestyle, and that their connection to the land was necessary for their well-being, spirituality and survival. The debate over landownership appears to be one concerning the use of two...
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