Over the many years of listening to the ever-worsening tales of our forefathers and their supposed behaviours on this continent towards the Aboriginal people, I’ve often wondered about how they could have been soooooo much different to me in terms of compassion. After all, wasn’t it the British Parliament that enacted the Slave Trade Act in 1807 and formed the West Africa Squadron in an attempt to quash it? Were they (as a people) really so compassionless to be capable of the stories we are now told?
Listening to the modern narrative leaves me (and no doubt many others) very confused. It’s like a glitch in the matrix that most are willing to overlook. It’s a bit like the jump most WW2 narratives make when they breeze over the fact that Mussolini did a “180” and went from heading up the pro-Bolshevik wing of the Italian Socialist Party to becoming an ‘extreme Right Wing fascist’, overnight. Most sources don’t look down when they make this jump for fear of what they might see…and be forced to admit. The same applies to the narratives of early Australia.
Do a little digging, stir through some context (that allows for the conditions of 200 years ago), and the picture looks somewhat different.
I intend to do that over a few posts. I’ll keep them as short as possible to merely draw your attention to the main contention, and then leave some references which might require a little more reading, but not too much. Some of it is compelling reading. Most from solid sources.
Ok, let’s start from the beginning. We’ll start with two basics.
Did Whiteman jump from his boats and declare, at the top of his lungs, Australia to be “Terra Nullis”?
It appears not. They may have thought along the lines that ‘Terra Nullis’ came to represent, but why embrace the fiction that it was ‘declared’?
Did the first settlers jump ashore with the clear intent of hunting them down and eradicating them like feral pests (yes, I’ve been told this during NAIDOC week presentations to large crowds)?
For the answer to this, let’s look at the:
“Instructions for Our Trusty George R and well beloved Arthur Phillip Esq. Our Captain General and Governor in Chief, in and over (LS.) Our Territory of New South Wales and its Dependencies, or to the Lieutenant Governor or Commander in Chief of the said Territory for the time being. Given at Our Court at St. James the 25th day of April 1787. In The Twenty Seventh year of Our Reign.”foundingdocs.gov.au
Before he sailed with the First Fleet.
“You are to endeavour by every possible means to open an Intercourse with the Natives and to conciliate their affections, enjoining all Our Subjects to live in amity and kindness with them. And if any of Our Subjects shall wantonly destroy them, or give them any unnecessary Interruption in the exercise of their several occupations. It is our Will and Pleasure that you do cause such offenders to be brought to punishment according to the degree of the Offence. You will endeavour to procure an account of the Numbers inhabiting the Neighbourhood of the intended settlement and report your opinion to one of our Secretaries of State in what manner Our Intercourse with these people may be turned to the advantage of this country.”foundingdoc.gov.au
This is just a short introduction and a warm up.
More inconvenient facts to follow.