Terra Nullius (Australia)

Topics: Indigenous Australians, Australia, Terra nullius Pages: 3 (1055 words) Published: August 28, 2013
Terra Nullius is Latin for the Ancient Roman of “land that belongs to no one”. This term is used in International law to describe any area or landmass that is not or has never been subject to the sovereignty of any state. The term Terra Nullius plays an undeniable large role in Australia history, both to the colonizing European and British settles and the native indigenous population.

In 1788 the colonization of Australia commenced. With the arrival of British and European settlers to Australia Terra Nullius was declared. With the declaration of Terra Nullius this meant that every that all native Aborigines to Australia no longer had the right to any land, animals and to a greater extent the very way that government themselves. There are arguments as to why Australia in 1788 was declared Terra Nullius. One of the more prominent arguments is, that upon the arrival of British fleets to Australia soil the native Aborigines of Australia at the time had no recorded history. They were seen as a primitive and scattered race of people who where less organized and advanced then the settling British. With no laws, government or event defined leaders able to speak for the nation as a whole the British had no way of negotiating treaties or agreements, as they had done to countless other country’s in the past. It is document in journals and notes from some of the early most settlers, the simplistic and almost primitive interaction with Australia’s indigenous population. “ …While searching for new more fertile land we encountered a small group of this lands native people. They are simple and primitive with no clothing and are fascinated by our own. Communication is impossible at best and they seem to have no understanding of basic land cultivation as we have not seen crops of any kind during our search” With many people at the time believing the local Australia natives to be primitive and having no way of governing themselves this could not be further from the truth, we...

Bibliography: Australia Government Mabo Education Website, http://www.nfsa.gov.au/digitallearning/mabo/tn_29.shtml, (Accessed 16th April 2013)
Blainey. G, Triumphs of the nomads, A History of Ancient Australia, Revised Edition, Sun Books, Melbourne 1988
Clark. M, A short history of Australia, Redwood Burn Limited, London, 1977
Gordon. H, An eyewitness history of Australia, Rigby Limited, Sydney, 1976
Ray. A, Reaching Australia, Robert Burton Printers, Sydney, 1995
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