Comment: European Settlement

To interested persons wishing to learn more about the European 'settlement' of Australia I would strongly suggest that they look beyond the 'glossed up' versions that we were taught in our schools...the treatment dished out to the Aboriginals is truly difficult to a lot of Australians I have grown up with an 'I don't care' attitude towards the Aborigines....but after reading of exactly what went on I am ashamed, ashamed that I have descended from British stock. One of the most enlightening books on the subject that I read is now in its third printing...written by Bruce Elder, 'Blood on the Wattle' is a disturbing account of life in early my opinion it should be included in school curriculum's all over this country.
Paul F Greig
Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: ExplorOz - David & Michelle - Friday, Jun 08, 2012 at 23:38

Friday, Jun 08, 2012 at 23:38
I probably leant the same stories as you at school but I never felt we were taught an "I don't care attitude" at all but like you I am ashamed but I also see how the British just didn't know any better as we do now. But it's not fair to read these stories from our modern perspective and make judgements.
Thanks for sharing your link - we used to stock that book here actually.

David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
Always working not enough travelling!

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

AnswerID: 487981

Reply By: lizard - Friday, Jun 08, 2012 at 23:50

Friday, Jun 08, 2012 at 23:50
All through history , the conquering of other lands by European nations was tragic , the South American tribes by Spanish/Portugese , Africa/India by Europe ..... Nth American Indian Nations by Britain/France ...... by comparison Australia was not as bad - but still abhorrent .....
AnswerID: 487983

Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 08:53

Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 08:53
Hi Paul

I understand what you are saying, but I can tell you that if say the Dutch or Spanish settled Australia first, things would have been fare worse than what has happened under the British rule.

You must remember that what happened in the past, is not related to the complete British rule and not all white people had the same thoughts towards the Aboriginal people and in fact many white people went out of their way to help the Aboriginal people. If you enjoyed that book, I can also recommend the great book "Forrest River Massacres" and it makes you hate what took place and how a very small group of white people, including a local policeman tried to cover up the murders of local Aboriginals, but they did not get away with it, even though no one was ever convicted of those horrific crimes.

I have read countless books of past atrocities by small groups of white people that was tried to be covered up, and then there were the decent white people that exposed these tragic events.

What happened in the past to many Aboriginal and early white settlers can be classed as shocking, but we must look to the future and be united as one Australia, and not split be small groups that if they had their way, we would all be removed from the best Nation.

Yes I can speak with Authority, as two of my past descendants had been involved with Aboriginals, with one great, great Uncle having an Aboriginal as his wife and would brig his son down to Adelaide and was very proud of him.



Smile like a Crocodile

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

AnswerID: 487988

Follow Up By: Member Brian (Gold Coast) - Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 09:34

Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 09:34
Well said Stephen.

It's ok to learn the past, but it's much more important to learn from it so we don't repeat history.

I have posted this on forums in the past, but I'll give it another go here.

Conways Kids, Click HERE for their web page. are having success with a program that is providing real education for children from the Ukaka community, which is near Kings Canyon in the Northern Territory. I have personally supported this charity, and haven encouraged our 4WD club to do so as well, and try to engender as much interest in it as I possibly can.



FollowupID: 763214

Follow Up By: Member - Rowdy6032 (WA) - Sunday, Jun 10, 2012 at 13:28

Sunday, Jun 10, 2012 at 13:28

Re the "Forrest River Massacres".

Another great book is "Massacre Myth" by Rod Moran.

If you have read the first one you should read the second.

FollowupID: 763288

Reply By: get outmore - Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 09:26

Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 09:26
Be carefull of how history might judge our current actions.

times and ideas change for numerous reasons

Just to blame the british is totally unfair. Such things were going on in countries well before colonial rule and still are in some countries

Rwanda genicide with no british present

there is evidence the current Aboriginals were probablly not the original inhabitants of Australia same as the maouris were not the original inhabitants of NZ
AnswerID: 487990

Reply By: garrycol - Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 10:09

Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 10:09
I do not feel ashamed of my heritage at all - quite the opposite.
AnswerID: 487995

Reply By: Neil & Pauline - Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 10:11

Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 10:11
I agree that at the time of European the treatment, by today's standards, of Aborigines was terrible. What we need to put into perspective is the fact that it was 200 years ago. standards have changed,though I sometimes wonder after hearing about Syria some races have not advanced much yet .
I had family burnt at the stake in England and another eaten by Aborigines in SW WA. In bygone years humans were generally barbaric. Fact of history.

The errors that needs to be corrected are the avoiding of the full information flow in schools etc.
How often are we informed about the cannibalistic traits of Aborigines?

We can't change what has happened so let us move on with that knowledge. Money will not fix anything, only peoples opinions and actions will solve any perceived problems with the past.


AnswerID: 487996

Reply By: dazren - Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 10:16

Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 10:16
I for one do not feel Ashamed ? for what ?? I was not there. That was not, and is not the Australia I know and love,

I agree what was done in the past, was wrong very wrong, but i also agree with rockylizard this was they way of the past, when one country invaded .

BUT. that was THEN !! and this is NOW !! It was done by the early settlers, Not by the Australians of today. The Past is the Past i am more interested in what are we going to do for the Aboriginal people of today ??

Today Aboriginal people represent only 2% of the population. and we pour BILLIONS of $$$$ at them which is only wasted, If you devided up those Billions into the 2%, Well they all should be very wealthy indeed. but the money is wasted. We cannot fix todays issues by throwing money in the wrong places and hoping it will keep them quite ??

In TODAY'S AUSTRALIA the realisation that we are a wide and varied mixed race of people, and we are all [ supposed] to be equal]
We will never solve a problem, re-living the past. we must see what we can do to Improve the future.!!

'' I am, We are, AUSTRALIAN''

AnswerID: 487997

Reply By: olcoolone - Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 11:15

Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 11:15
Seriously I don't think we will ever be able to accept each other and this argument will be going on for centuries.

Us so called "white people" accepted the indigious people but it seems they are still very bitter about what has happened in the past and some groups go out of their way to cause conflicts and indite hatred.

As for what others have said above is true..... that's why the call it history (maybe it should be called "once upon a time").

It just wasn't the indigious people of Australia who got it tough, it was happening around the world and at that point in time it was acceptable..... look at what a lot of countries have done to their own people over time..... and what has happened during the various wars..... look at how we treat the sick and those with a disability..... what about the animals.... we are a cruel race!

AnswerID: 488001

Follow Up By: garrycol - Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 14:08

Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 14:08
The current generation of indigenous people seem to go out of their way to be victims (there is a proportion who still definitely need help) - it seems to be a mind set - many concentrate on the past rather than looking to the future - of course there are exceptions.

FollowupID: 763223

Reply By: Kris and Kev - Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 12:46

Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 12:46
I am not ashamed either. I am a very proud Australian and I love this country. The world is full of people who have been victims of atrocities but it is how they deal with it and get on with their life today that counts. (But I know it is very important to learn the past.) The Aborigines are also very lucky that people braver then I fought for us and the Japanese were defeated. Sundowner2 have you seen the plans they had for our country! Kevin
AnswerID: 488008

Reply By: Ron N - Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 14:09

Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 14:09
I don't believe anything different happened to Aboriginals, that didn't happen to any other country over-run by other tribes intent on domination.

The Romans pillaged plundered, murdered and ruled Britain with an iron fist for centuries.
The Vikings murdered and pillaged 100's of innocent peace-loving monks living on the NE coast of England, at Lindisfarne - and this engendered fear, hatred and unity amongst the Anglo-Saxons and Celts, that they never had before.

The Vikings believed that murder of "lesser peoples" increased their stature as warriors. Witness the story of Egill the Viking, who with all his men, was captured and bound by a farmer they were raiding.

During the night, Egill slipped his bonds, released his men, grabbed all the farmers wealth and made his way back to the longboat. Then, he decided he was little more than a sleazy thief.
So he and his men made their way back to the farmhouse, set fire to it with the inhabitants inside, then murdered any that tried to escape. This was "honourable" warrior behaviour that gave him increased status, in Egills eyes.

The Normans plundered, murdered, and dominated the South of England from 1066 to 1204. Who knows what evils they committed? The records are sparse.

The French, German, Spanish and Portuguese all subdued hundreds of tribes and territories by murderous invasion techniques. This was standard technique for conquering new territories.

Overall, the "invasion" of Australia was a relatively peaceful invasion. The whites in the early history of Australia rarely went on murderous rampages to subdue the native population.
Most attacks on natives were "punitive attacks" that were initiated by the Aboriginals killing whites, killing animals for food, and for stealing from the whites.

There were a few murderous rampages on Aboriginals, to be sure - but these were aberrations, not the norm. Many whites protested at the unwarranted attacks on Aboriginals, but they weren't strong enough protests.

The Aboriginals themselves conducted murderous raids on adjoining tribes, and any "intruders" on their "patch". Who has kept records of the dreadful murders carried out by them?

I don't feel that I need to be abjectly sorry and hand back Australia to the Aborigines for what has happened. The Aboriginals themselves are not helping by demanding a separate Aboriginal flag, Aboriginal society, Aboriginal lands where whites are denied access (what would happen if we denied Aboriginals access to our white-man cities?).

The problems stem from Aboriginal and white societies and cultures being diametrically opposed.
White mans culture demands personal responsibility. Aboriginal culture has no personal responsibility.
White culture recognises personal possession. Abo culture does not. Everything belongs to everyone in Abo culture. If one Abo has a car, everyone has a ride. If one Abo has a heap of money, everyone that asks for money, gets it. In return, it's expected that when all the money is gone, and someone else gets some, it's immediately spread amongst all the "relations".

Abo's do not recognise intrinsic value. A fine, beautifully-crafted wooden table to whites, is firewood to Abo's when it gets cold.
Abo's don't think any further ahead than the immediate future, the next hour. Whites plan years ahead.
The Abo's outlook is childish, simplistic, and self-centred. Whites have learnt that self-centredness is undesirable and look down on it.

Abo's refuse to let go of the past. If you can't let go of the past, you can't move forward. Abo demands on whites are substantial, constant and never-ending.
They blame the whites for everything. Alcohol abuse, poverty, poor education, poor health. The whites have to "fix everything" because "it's all their fault".

All these factors are constant, recurring themes. The Aboriginals of Australia will not move forward until they leave their stone-age principles behind, and move to meet the white requirements of living in a stable society - where stealing is a serious crime - personal responsibility must be accepted - and people take responsibility for their own actions, instead of constantly blaming others.

Books written by whites detailing savage attacks on Aborigines, means nothing more to me, than the records of the torture and murder of the Martyrs of the Middle Ages. The records of the Martyrs torture and murders, record some of the most abominable behaviour that mankind could indulge in, and makes your stomach churn to read about them.

However, despite possibly having ancestors murdered as Martyrs, I'm not out there demanding that the descendants of the people who martyred my ancestors, compensate in an extreme fashion.
What's done in a different age is done, and nothing will bring back the situation that existed before.

When Aborigines cease their childish clamour and unreasonable demands to return life to the way it was 200+ years ago, and learn to accept and live in the 21st century as a united country and culture, with all its challenges, then we can all move forward.
AnswerID: 488014

Follow Up By: Bigfish - Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 16:21

Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 16:21
Ron...your gunna upset a hell of a lot of misguided souther do-gooders!
I agree with a lot of what you said as I have lived in communities for over 15 years.
FollowupID: 763234

Follow Up By: Tim - Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 18:27

Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 18:27
That is really well said and absolutely spot on. The "blame game" and the inability to plan into the future could not be more true.
FollowupID: 763247

Reply By: Steve M1 (NSW) - Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 14:26

Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 14:26
What is often overlooked is that amongst those who suffered most under British rule in the early days were the Brits themselves. For trivial offences, like stealing a morsel to eat to stay alive, they were separated from their families in England forever and enslaved for at least a good number of years and often until death. Then suffered the brutal forced labour on arrival.

There is much ado about Aboriginies being seperated from their families and rightly so, but the same thing also happened to British kids who were sent here as orphans. The film "The Leaving of Liverpool" shows kids from all over northern Britain despatched here through the port of Liverpool after being separated from their families and they hadn't even committed any crime.

That's how the world was in those days. As Michelle said, it's ridiculous to look back in hindsight with a modern perspective. We should just be thankful for what we have now. I doubt there's been a period in history when we've had it so good, despite the current (economic) gloom.

AnswerID: 488016

Reply By: Sundowner2 - Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 14:41

Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 14:41
Well, if nothing else my comments have had some good and interesting response...and this is good as the 20 year milestone of Eddie Mabo passes us by...of course the concept of 'Terra Nullius' was concocted by the British Government, if no one 'owned' Australia they didn't have to answer to (or pay) anyone, just take the respondents who suggest the British might not have been as bad as other invaders I'm getting little comfort from that.

Australia is, arguably, one of the best countries in the world, I am grateful to be able to call myself an Australian but the stain persists, one needs to read actual records to understand....the British Government offered a reward for the capture of Tasmanian aborigines, men, women and children...In Queensland the aborigines were given damper laced with poison...their water supply was fenced off in Western Australia and they were shot if they tried to scale fences, again, men women and children.....this happened up until just 170 years ago...not such a long time....but we are supposed to cleanse ourselves by saying that is in the past??

One respondent draws a parallel with the British invasion to that of attempts by the Japanese during world war two...I am not exactly sure what is meant here but again, history is easily distorted, the Japanese in fact never had any intention of 'taking over' Australia.

I was totally happy when the attempts to rename Ayres Rock were successful, I can think of many other instances that should follow suit....this is one way we can 'look to the future' as some respondents suggest we should do.

I don't ever recall being taught in school that many of our early explorers had the names they have given to geographical landmarks, mountains and rivers, etc changed on documents sent 'home' to that of British Government members and British aristocracy....the stain lives on.

Wikipedia on Eddie Mabo link below.
AnswerID: 488018

Follow Up By: Steve M1 (NSW) - Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 17:59

Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 17:59
All horific stuff and an appalling thing for those concerned to have to go through - If you read The Fatal Shore you'll find equally horific things meted out to British and Irish prisoners who'd done little more than "steal" a rabbit from a rich landowners vast property to keep his family from starving, or maybe stole a handkerchief to barter for food or the "orphans" who were abused, sexually, mentally and physically. The "orphans" issue went on until the 1970s, never mind 170 years ago. They were terrible times for those who suffered but it wasn't just one section of the current society that we now live in. Has anyone said "sorry" to those "orphans" who weren't orphans until they were taken from their families? No and I doubt they ever will but those people do not dwell on the past and have taken their lives forward for subsequent generations to benefit from. The Aboriginal communities certainly need more than money thrown at them to go forward - they need educating but they have to be willing to be educated.
FollowupID: 763245

Follow Up By: BarryR1 - Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 22:52

Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 22:52
Money thrown at they don't! That paternalistic attitude has never worked. Educatuion is what is needed and it's about getting the kids away from toxic communities to a place where they can make their own choices about advancing themselves through education and opportunities that an education brings.
FollowupID: 763268

Follow Up By: Hairy (WA) - Sunday, Jun 10, 2012 at 13:35

Sunday, Jun 10, 2012 at 13:35
Getting the kids away from toxic communities! What....steal another generation? Intervention! That just moves the problem into another community. Besides the choices are already there......aboriginals have far greater access to education, health,funding and support than any non-aboriginal kid living out of capital cities.
The government bought in the intervention to gain access to communities to wipe out pedophilia, rape, drugs, alcohol, assult etc and where labeled racist?
Its time to move on, learn from history and live for the future. Stop crying poor bugger me and use the infrastructure provided.
FollowupID: 763289

Reply By: Off-track - Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 15:29

Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 15:29
Can you name a civilisation that you wouldnt be ashamed of past actions?
AnswerID: 488021

Reply By: Ron N - Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 19:42

Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 19:42
I cannot agree that our historical records of attacks on Aborigines have been "glossed up" in our history records.
The events described by Bruce Elder are readily available for perusal in substantial numbers of historical records.

If all these records had been altered, "modified" or "toned down" to try and eliminate any record of ill-treatment of Aborigines - then yes, I would agree with the "glossed-up" statement.

However, I can only re-iterate that the white development of Australia was not carried out with a purposeful plan of decimation of the Aboriginals.
As previously stated, the murderous attacks on peaceful Aboriginals were carried out by a minority of white people, without general approval.

If you want to see an example of "glossed-up" - examine Japanese WW2 history lessons, and Google "Tol plantation massacre". The Japanese still claim they were the "victims" of Western aggression, and that no atrocities were carried out by them - only war actions designed to preserve their nation.

The stories submitted by survivors of Japanese atrocities show that not only were the Japs murderous towards people who had willingly surrendered - they were also callous and cruel beyond belief.

Many Australians were tied to trees and used for bayonet practice, and the Japs favorite tactic was bayoneting the tied Australian soldiers in the bowel, and leaving them to die in extreme agony over many hours.

Much of the Aboriginal mistreatment was due to whites anger about theft of valuable hard-earned food supplies and stock.
The Abo's saw white mens food and animals as "easy tucker" rather than having to forage for their food, as before.
The whites of the early days were not specifically depriving the Abo's of food, they believed the Abo's were still quite able to survive on "bush tucker".
In contrast, the Abo's believe "sacred sites" were being abused, and this was enough reason to attack whites. So, the ill-feelings were based on loss on both sides.

The worst attacks on Abo's appear to have been carried out by those whites who had relations killed, or had lost serious amounts of food & animal possessions to Abo's.
Overall though, these people constituted a minority amongst the whites, and the vast majority of whites were happy to leave the Abo's alone - as long as the Abo's respected the white mans possessions, and didn't attack and kill whites.
AnswerID: 488042

Reply By: Hairy (WA) - Sunday, Jun 10, 2012 at 13:01

Sunday, Jun 10, 2012 at 13:01
Im not sure why we are supposed to be ashamed? I didnt even know the early settlers!
Maybe if some of those people who are ashamed went out onto some remote communities for a few years and worked for aboriginal people to repay there dept to society, it might make them feel a little better? Any volunteers ? Ive got some contacts? Anyone?
AnswerID: 488076

Follow Up By: disco driver - Sunday, Jun 10, 2012 at 15:39

Sunday, Jun 10, 2012 at 15:39
Well Said Hairy,

I will not be pressurised into feeling ashamed/guilty for something that happened well before I was born and thus was totally out of my control.

I agree that there were some instances of mans inhumanity to man on both sides but I can understand that, in those times, it was not considered to be so guilt ridden as it is now.

The indigenous population of today has to move on and stop portraying themselves as "Victims". The Counrty has through one K Rudd apologised for the sins of our forefathers and it's time to move on into the future.

FollowupID: 763295

Sponsored Links