population of australia 200 years ago?

Submitted: Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 10:55
ThreadID: 76630 Views:4459 Replies:8 FollowUps:24
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probably an unanswerable question but does anyone know what our population was when captain cook first arrived?


thanks
jamie
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Reply By:- Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 11:04

Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 11:04
Link to Wiki page.
AnswerID: 407623

Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 12:35

Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 12:35
You have to laugh that Wikipedia puts up an estimated figure of 350,000 pop when as late as 1964 there were indigenous that had never had contact .
200 yrs ago 99.9% of the Australian landmass had never been seen by whites so to assume a population figure becomes laughable.
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Follow Up By: Fab72 - Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 12:40

Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 12:40
Alloy c/t...you obviously watched "Contact" on ABC the other night too. I was blown away by the fact that there were tribes in the north central areas of WA who had never seen a white man, motor vehicle or clothes before.

Hard to imagine. Then again, the kids scoff me when I say to put a record on.
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Follow Up By: Off-track - Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 13:45

Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 13:45
Not necessarily laughable depending on where the original estimates came from. From the Aust Bureau of Statistics it has estimated between 315k to 750k.

ABS
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Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 14:04

Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 14:04
Off-track , thats exactly why its laughable ,an estimate with a variable of over 400,000.
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Follow Up By: Gazal Champion - Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 18:28

Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 18:28
Hi Fab72, If you read Len Beadell s books you will see he came across a tribe out in that area before 1964 as best I can recollect. One fellow was covered in body hair and Len could not quite get his name but thought it was Lolly so that is what he called hime. Took his family back some years later to meet him, as best as I can recall. (Grey hair is affecting memory lol) Bruce.
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Follow Up By: Member - John R (QLD) - Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 20:48

Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 20:48
1963, Bruce, as described in Len's book "End of an Era", while he was solo surveying for the route of the Talawana Track. Your memory's fine on the other points. I though Len might get a mention on the "Contact" program, as the Gunbarrel crew had just put the Callawa Track through the Percival Lakes.

Cheers, John

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Follow Up By: Off-track - Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 23:21

Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 23:21
It's as close as you will get to an accurate figure, so it's either that or for us to be ignorant to the idea.
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Follow Up By: Member - mazcan - Tuesday, Mar 09, 2010 at 16:11

Tuesday, Mar 09, 2010 at 16:11
hi fab2

my uncle who was in the police force at the time was actually a member of the Bill Graden party who went on one of those expeditions in w a out into the desert in army type petrol landrovers in a big loop from cosmo newberry n/east of kalgorlie

and came across some of those nomads 3 different groups and had to approach with much caution as they had not seen white man before and a couple of the groups had there spears ready to throw and the aboriginal guides eventually convinced them that they would come to no harm

and after some time lowered their spears and conversed with the guides in their own lingo then excepted gifts of rugs and clothing before the expedition party moved on
they found them at water holes that their aboriginal guides located this was from memory in about 1950
i was only a kid going to early primary school at that stage but i clearly remember having slide nights and seeing all the tribes in there natural raw state there were men/ women/ children of various ages in each group
cheers
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Reply By: Alloy c/t - Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 11:13

Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 11:13
Unanswerable , back in 1770 Cook did not even give a guesstimate , and the indigenous population itself would not know or care , a mob that lived around Botany Bay would not know of tribes in Nth Qld for example ,
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Follow Up By: Member - Tony V (NSW) - Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 12:21

Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 12:21
Quantity unknown.

The mob around Sydney would possibly not know anything about a mob in Lithgow, over the Hawksbury or south of Georges River.

They would know that "other" were there but little else, Coastal natives had an abundance of food in comparison to the Desert people who had to roam vast areas to hunt and gather

Even in the 60's tribes were still being found in some outback regions of NT - SA and WA.
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Follow Up By: Member - ross m (WA) - Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 15:32

Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 15:32
Not true.Aboriginals had large gatherings in South Australia up until colonial times and representives or even whole tribes would meet there.
This would have given them the knowledge that the country was vast with many tribes.
In more local areas,tribes would have crossed paths where their food gathering overlapped.
Aboriginals were experts at passing on information by word of mouth,so they would have learnt about tribes from outside of there area this way

As for the population estmates,I would say they are based on how much land it would take to sustain the hunter gatherer lifestyle.

Alloy c/t,How would you know what aboriginals cared or didnt care about 200 years ago?
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Follow Up By: Member - Tony V (NSW) - Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 16:38

Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 16:38
Thank Ross,

What is not true? My post was specific around the Sydney region where tribes did not wander to far, the Aborigines on the Central Coast (just north of the Hawksbury knew there were people south of the Hawksbury and some spoke the same language but all had a different dialect. While they knwe and traded with neighboring tribes, they never crossed boarders or travelled through a neighbours land.

As I said" in comparison to the Desert people who had to roam vast areas to hunt and gather"

The white settlers took natives from from Sydney when crossing the Blue Mountains and the Hawksbury when exploring and the Sydney Aboringines knew little about the tribes and feared that they would be killed for trespassing on the traibal lands.

New South Wales:

Awabagal
The territory of the Awabagal covered the area between the Hunter River and Tuggerah Lakes, NSW, including Lake Macquarie. They were neighbours with the Kuring-gai and Darkinung peoples to the south, the Worimi people to the north, and the Wonnarua people to the west (on the middle reaches of the Hunter River).

Darkinung
The boundaries for the Darkinung appear to have stretched from Wilberforce and Wiseman's Ferry on the Hawkesbury River to Jerry's Plains and Singleton on the Hunter. Closer to the coast was the territory of the Awabagal which extended up the Central Coast almost to Newcastle.

Darug (also spelt Dharug, Daruk, Dharuk, Dharuck and Dharruk).
People of the southeast region, living in the region from the Hawkesbury River in the north to Appin, the Cowpastures and George's River in the south, and west into the Blue Mountains as far as the territory of the Wiradjuri near Bathurst. The Hawkesbury River appears to have marked the boundary between the Darug and their neighbours to the northwest, the Darkinung.

Dharawhal
The boundaries of the Dharawhal language area were along the coast between Botany Bay and Jervis Bay.

Eora
People of the region in the area of present-day Sydney, along the harbour foreshores and the area between Port Jackson and Botany Bay. The language that they spoke was a dialect of Darug. Neighbours to the Darug, Kuring-gai, and Tharawal peoples.

Gundungurra (also spelt Gundungurry, Gandangara)
The Gundungurra tribe extended from the Blue Mountains at Hartley and Lithgow through the Burragorang and Megalong Valleys, east at least as far as the Nepean River (and therefore west of the Illawarra); while in the south, their territory extended at least as far as Goulburn, and possibly to Tumut. They were also referred to as the Mountain People, Nattai, Burragorang or Wollondilly Tribes.

Kuring-gai
Indigenous tribal group living between Port Jackson and Tuggerah Lakes, in particular the area on both sides of Broken Bay. Neighbours to the Awabakal, Darkinung, Darug and Eora peoples. Port Jackson and the Lane Cove River formed the boundary between the Kuring-gai and the Darug.

Tharawal
The Tharawal lived in the area around Botany Bay and southwards, in particular between La Perouse and Wreck Bay (near Jervis Bay). Neighbours with the Eora, Darug, Gundungurra and Yuin.

Wiradjur
Wiradjuri country extended from the western foothills of the Blue Mountains and Lithgow through Bathurst, Orange, and Dubbo to Nyngan in the far west; in the south it stretched to Albury. Broadly speaking, the Wiradjuri occupied almost the entire length of the Lachlan and Murrumbidgee Rivers, as well as 100 km along the Upper Murray.

Wonnarua
Inland people living on the upper reaches of the Hunter River. They had close trade and ceremonial links with their neighbours the Darkinung, to the south, as well as close contact with the Wiradjuri to the west of the mountains. After the spread of white settlement along the Hunter, Singleton became the area most closely identified with the Wonnarua people.

Worimi
Tribal group living in the coastal region between the Hunter River and Port Stephens.

Yuin
Tribal group occupying the coastal area between Jervis Bay and Twofold Bay.


Sourced from "A journey in Tibe"
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Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 18:30

Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 18:30
Ross , read my reply again , " they would not know or care " , we are talking about a population figure of a people whos counting consisted of 1-2 and many , East coast tribes 200yrs ago know how many lived on the other side of the blue mountains ? Knew of tribes in WA ? As for later population estimates worked out on x amount hunter gatherers per x amount of sq miles the concept is so fallible to be laughable , count when ? Summer / Winter / Drought /Flood / Desert / Alpine / Fire ravaged , each would grossly affect the outcome.
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Follow Up By: OzTroopy - Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 19:05

Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 19:05
Ross, Tony and Alloy

I'm pretty sure that a tribe in one spot would have been well "aware" of other tribes ....

That level of awareness would have been determined by the proximity of the others ... and "how well" they got along ....


The further away the other tribes ... the less importance they would have been on a daily basis.

I remember too .... that a late 1960s Readers Digest - Atlas of Australia ... had supposed trading routes of eastern states aborigines shown on a map .... cant remember what they based the info on tho ???

Anybody got one sitting on their bookshelf ??? It was the large, blue hardcover edition. Had some great info in it besides just maps.


An interesting activity is to replace each of the tribal names in Tony's post with western surnames e.g.

Awabagal .... Smith
Darkinung .... Jones

.... to ponder a different slant on the reason for so many dialects, the "traditional" land occupation boundaries, stories of raiding other tribes for wives etc.
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Follow Up By: Member - ross m (WA) - Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 21:39

Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 21:39
It was reported in the press a few years back that historians had found that the aboriginal popuation of australia had regular get togethers somewhere in SA that included all the representiaves of the major clans .
Some of them sent representatives thousands of klms on foot to attend these mega corrobarees.
Early white colonists witnessed these events and reported numbers in the in the 10000s
After white colonisation the communication broke down.

Its ridiculous to state the that the idigenous population of this continent were ignorant of the countries vastness and the far flung tribes that lived in it.
They are, after all the oldest continous occupiers of a continent in the world and in 50000 years,maybe longer, there would have been a huge amount knowledge passed from one generation to another.

Alloy c/t ,your patronism is sickening. I doubt aborigines would have died in floods,fires or alpine regions as easily as white people.
They know what the weater and conditions will be .
Its only white people that build combustable houses in valleys amongst trees and then stay to fight fires.
They dont venture into deserts at the hottest time of the year ,they go there after the rains when its cooler,there is water and widlife is more common.

I dont recall any expert making any definite population counts ,its all a theory and unless you have seen the figures they have collected, its a bit hard to cast doubt on them.
However ,I would certainly place more trust in someone who has devoted their life to the study of indigenous population than your infantile carrying ons .
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Follow Up By: Member - John R (QLD) - Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 21:52

Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 21:52
Quote:
"A common misconception among non-Aboriginals is that Aboriginals did not have a way to count beyond two or three. However, Alfred Howitt, who studied the peoples of southeastern Australia, disproved this in the late nineteenth century, although the MYTH continues in circulation today."

Site Link.

Perhaps it's time for some people to move into the 20th century at least.

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Follow Up By: Off-track - Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 23:28

Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 23:28
Wouldnt some of the native Africans be the oldest continuous occupiers? What about Europeans?
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Follow Up By: Off-track - Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 23:34

Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 23:34
I'd like to hear more about that mega-corroboree, as it is the first I have heard of it. Sounds a little too far fetched to me that tribes from all over a continent larger than Europe, with no form of transport apart from their own feet, would gather together like this. Also brings a romantic notion that there was never any warring between them.
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Follow Up By: OzTroopy - Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 00:18

Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 00:18
Re:
FollowupID: 677634 Submitted: Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 21:39
Member - ross m (WA) posted:


"They dont venture into deserts at the hottest time of the year ,they go there after the rains when its cooler,there is water and widlife is more common. "


The circumstances, statements and film footage in that "Contact" programme the other night on TV would suggest otherwise.

I think that given the evolutionary history of the world ... "longest occupation of a continent" may be an exaggeration ... however, longest undisturbed occupation is certainly viable.
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Follow Up By: Member - Rowdy6032 (WA) - Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 19:00

Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 19:00
Hi ross m
Having a bit of an interest in history I would appreciate a reference to the information on the mega corroboree.
Not familiar with the east but can't recall seeing any reference to such large gatherings in the west or people from the west travelling so far.
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Follow Up By: OzTroopy - Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 19:36

Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 19:36
G'Day Rowdy

Googling "trade routes" will indicate that many believe in them .... and meetings of large groups of aborigines.

The most commonsense articles suggest that items collected at these gatherings were passed on tribe to tribe ... rather than cape york aborigines walking to ayers rock to get them.

Perhaps "message sticks" were a shopping list ????

This link is probably good reading as the italic comments are circa 1940 and not tainted with post 1980's embellishments ..... > Site Link
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Follow Up By: Member - Rowdy6032 (WA) - Tuesday, Mar 09, 2010 at 03:13

Tuesday, Mar 09, 2010 at 03:13
Hi OzTroopy
Thanks for that.

I would agree that the goods would have been passed on. According to the map of the trade route in WA the circumcised tribes would have been trading with the uncircumcised tribes of the south west.
While I am no expert from what I have read this would have been unlikely as they were at each others throats.
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Reply By: OzTroopy - Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 12:08

Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 12:08
No real answer to that I wouldnt think .... They still cant get it right.

18th century estimates could only have been based on the tribes numbers encountered and the land quality they were living on.

Common sense would have dictated that there were less living in arid zones of the country and approximations adjusted accordingly.

Wasnt much exploration for a while so not a lot of contact outside of the newly settled prison camp areas either.

The lack of indigenous social structure across the country meant they had no idea either .... apart from "big mob living over there" in their equivalent of a "shire".

As for "wiki" info ...... good starter info but ..... I find I need to pinch a salt block off one of my cows ... and chew on it while reading the "facts" published in there
AnswerID: 407637

Follow Up By: The Explorer - Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 14:09

Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 14:09
Yes - this forum is a much better source of factual unbiased information than wikipedia LOL

Cheers
Greg
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Follow Up By: OzTroopy - Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 15:11

Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 15:11
heh heh ... my point exactly ... LOL
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Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 14:47

Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 14:47
I understand that there were people coming out of the Great Victoria Desert to have first white contact as late as 1985 and that some of those are still alive today.

Cheers,
Peter
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AnswerID: 407661

Reply By: Member - Tony V (NSW) - Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 16:57

Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 16:57
Buzzz,

This is what the government published.

Estimated at 315,000 when settled by Europeans.

In the 2006 census, 455 031 people identified themselves as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

More than half of Australia’s Indigenous population lives in either New South Wales or Queensland. In 2006, these states were home to 138 507 and 127 580 people respectively. Of all the states and territories, the Northern Territory has the highest proportion of Indigenous people, who make up 27.8 per cent of the territory’s population.

Before Europeans arrived in Australia, about 250 diverse Indigenous languages were spoken. Some of these are still spoken today but many have died out.

All from
Gov web page
AnswerID: 407676

Reply By: Kumunara (NT) - Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 17:16

Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 17:16
Buzzz


In most Aboriginal languages there are three numbers.

One, Two and many.

So the correct answer to your question is that there were many people in Australia 200 years ago.



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Follow Up By: Hairy (NT) - Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 21:12

Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 21:12
Big mobs hey?
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Reply By: buzzz - Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 20:26

Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 20:26
thanks to all who added there 2 bobs worth. i think we've established that there can be no real accurate figure apart from - MANY.

thanks
buzz
AnswerID: 407716

Reply By: get outmore - Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 01:27

Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 01:27
I researched it a while back and it was obvious the best answer was an absalute guestamite between 300 and 700 tohousand

- big range indicating we have no real idea
AnswerID: 407762

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