The Aboriginal people of Australia are the original inhabitants of the Australian continent and its nearby islands. Aboriginal Australians have a rich and complex history that includes both challenges and triumphs. In this blog post, we will explore the modern history of Aboriginal Australia, dating back to the European settlement in 1788.
1788-1868: Early Contact and Violence
The first point of contact between Aboriginal Australians and Europeans occurred in 1788 when the British began their colonization of Australia—this process was known as invasion, dispossession, and persecution by the Aboriginal people. The British settlers brought with them new diseases that killed many Aboriginal people. They also forcibly took away their land and resources, which led to conflict between the two groups. This period saw some of the worst violence inflicted upon the Aboriginal people, with entire tribes being wiped out.
1868-1930: Protection and Policy Changes
In 1868, the British Parliament passed the Aborigines Protection Act, which resulted in the establishment of Native Protectorates. The purpose of these protectorates was to “civilize” or “Christianize” the Aboriginal people by teaching them how to farm, introducing them to Western culture, and converting them to Christianity. Although well-meaning, these policies did not take into account the needs or want of the Aboriginal people, and often resulted in further loss of land and culture.
1930-1960: The Stolen Generation
One of the most devastating policies enacted against the Aboriginal people was the removal of children from their families. Between 1930 and 1960, an estimated 100,000 Aboriginal children were taken from their homes by force and placed in white foster homes or Christian mission schools – these children became known as the “Stolen Generation”.
They were told that their real parents were dead, or that they were too poor to care for them properly. This policy caused immense psychological damage to both the children and their families, from which many have never recovered.
1960-Present Day: Self-Determination and Recognition
In 1960, the Australian government passed legislation giving all Aboriginal Australians citizenship rights. This marked a turning point in Aboriginal history as it gave them equal status under Australian law for the first time ever. In 1967, the Aboriginal Referendum Vote was held in which over 90% of Australians voted in favor of giving Aboriginal people full citizen rights – this signaled a change in public attitude towards Aboriginal Australians, who now had recognition as a distinct group within society.
In 1972, the Aboriginal flag was designed and flown for the first time. This flag is now a powerful symbol of pride for Aboriginal people all over Australia. In recent years there has been an increased focus on reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples within Australia.
There is still much work to be done, but there is hope for a bright future for all Australians
The history of Aboriginal Australia is one that is rich and complex. It is a history marked by both challenge and triumph. We hope that this blog post has given you a better understanding of the modern history of this great nation and its original inhabitants.