European Settlement in Australia Provide the Catalyst for the Near Destruction of Indigenous Society
Essay Topic: European settlement in Australia provided the catalyst for the near destruction of Indigenous society European settlement had a negative impact on the Indigenous Australians and it provided a catalyst for the destruction of Indigenous society. The impact of European settlement on the Indigenous people of Australia was disastrous due to many things such as taking land that belonged to the Aboriginal people. Though there were some attempts to understand each culture, it led to various massacres and conflicts around Australia which had caused a decline in the Aboriginal population.
Apart from the violence, the Europeans had brought diseases to Australia which wiped out generations at a time and had a dramatic effect on the Aboriginal population. The Aboriginal children had been taken away from their families and were forced to dress like the Europeans and learn their culture. Many of the things that the Europeans did led to a gradual destruction of the Aboriginal society. During European settlement, Europeans took the land from the Aboriginal people because the land to them was said to be terra nullius which is land belonging to no one.
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The Europeans believed that the Indigenous Australians didn’t use the land to its full potential. The Aboriginal People did not grow crops; hunt all the animal or build buildings on the land. They said that the land was not used to benefit the Aboriginal People at all. The settlers acknowledged the presence of Indigenous people but they justified that they had the right to take over and own the land because by saying that the Aboriginal people were too primitive to be actual owners of the land.
Because the land was not used properly according to the Europeans, they thought that they had the right to take it away from the people who have been living there for over 40 000 years. When the European people came to Australia, they knew that the Aboriginal people were living there but because the Indigenous Australians moved around the land, they thought that they could take it. The European people “believed that the Aboriginal people were happy to move on to new land, due to the nomadic nature of the Indigenous lifestyle.
The Indigenous peoples, however, always returned to the land after it had been given time to replenish itself. ” Due to the false ownership of the land by Europeans, Aboriginal society was greatly demolished as well as their motherland which was where they lived for many years. There were also brutal times that affected the Aboriginal population overwhelmingly. Various massacres and conflicts around Australia ensued following European settlement despite some attempts to understand each culture.
When Europeans first came to Australia, the Aboriginal people tried to understand the culture of the European people and share the land with them. Many massacres of Aboriginal people took place because of many reasons such as fear of attacks by Aboriginal people. Aboriginal people would get angry and make surprise attacks because the white people would steal land that wasn’t there to steal and they would also steal the animals that was used to feed most of the population. That was the main reason for most of the massacres, but there were many others.
Another main reason was to remove all the Aboriginal men so that the white settlers could sexually abuse the women and girls. “Stories of girls as young as eight who were kidnapped and raped and infected with syphilis. Teenage girls were kept for sex and chained up at night to stop them running away. One group of girls was held in a chicken wire enclosure. ” The European settlement had a negative impact on the Aboriginal society. Cultural misunderstandings over land, however, made the initial attempts to construct a peaceful relationship seem futile.
These misunderstanding led to violent conflict and various massacres and the result of them caused a great decline in the Aboriginal population. European settlement had a disastrous impact on the Aboriginal communities in the area due to a spread of diseases, loss of livelihood, alcohol abuse and malnutrition. Before the European settlers arrived in Australia, Indigenous people traditionally led very healthy lifestyles. Their diet consisted of a great variety of fruits and vegetables which they found fresh on the land. The also ate some animal meat which helped to balance their diets.
The Aboriginal people did not suffer greatly from disease and were not often sick. “Minor ailments that they did suffer from were often related to the environment they lived in (snake bites, skin irritations, burns from fires), injuries they received from their lifestyle (walking over rugged landscapes, climbing trees for food) and the quality of the food they ate… ” and they were always treated by traditional medicines made from local plants. Unfortunately, the health of the Indigenous people worked against the Indigenous people when the Europeans arrived.
Because of the lack of illness amongst the Indigenous people, they had not built up immunity to disease. The Europeans exposed a variety of diseases to Indigenous people such as smallpox, influenza, measles, whooping cough, etc. As the settlement in Australia grew, so did the Indigenous people’s exposure to different diseases. These diseases reduced the population of Indigenous people in Australia. Though they tried to fight the diseases with their traditional medicine, it was unsuccessful. When the European settlers arrived in Australia, they did not only bring new people and lifestyles to Australia but also new diseases.
These diseases had a hugely negative effect on Australia’s Indigenous population as they had never been exposed to these diseases before and the consequence of that was often deadly. The forced removal of Indigenous children from their families at the turn of last century led to a destruction to Indigenous family life. When the Europeans came to Australia, they needed servants so they removed the Aboriginal children from their families and forced them to learn an alien lifestyle. Once removed, they were never allowed to return home.
The white society believed that it was beneficial to remove a child from their influences of their Aboriginal family. They would then be sent to a foster home or institution and train them to become a servant. These children were called the “stolen generation,” many whom were under the age of 5. When these children grew up, most of them had no family ties or cultural identity and as adults they suffered insecurity, lack of self-esteem, depression, abuse of alcohol and drugs and inability to trust. It is said that “Lacking a parental model, many had difficulty bringing up their own children. The result of stealing children from their families led to a destruction of the Indigenous society at the last turn of the century. European expansionism into Australia was the reason for the near annihilation of Indigenous society. Their dispossession of the land, exposure to new diseases and involvement in violent struggles resulted in the death of a vast number of Aboriginal people. For the first time in their 40,000 year history they encountered outsiders, which in their case proved to be a near fatal experience. “The impact of the white settlers changed their lives, and the lives of future generations, forever. 1. Bibliography * Carrodus, G. (2012). Oxford Big Ideas Australian Curriculum History 9. Oxford University Press, Australia. * Red Apple Education. Impact of European settlement on Indigenous people. 2012. http://www. skwirk. com. au/p-c_s-17_u-455_t-1228_c-4700/disease/wa/disease/aboriginal-people-and-torres-strait-islanders/contact-with-europeans-the-effects * Red Apple Education. Disease. 2012. http://www. skwirk. com. au/p-c_s-56_u-426_t-1075_c-4149/WA/10/Impact-of-European-settlement-on-Indigenous-people/_tb-v * Jens Korff. Myall Creek Massacre. 2012. http://www. reativespirits. info/aboriginalculture/history/myall-creek-massacre-1838 * iEARN’s HG. Aboriginal Children: A “Lost Generation”. 2005. http://www. iearn. org/hgp/aeti/aeti-1998-no-frames/aboriginal-children. htm ——————————————– [ 1 ]. Red Apple Education. Impact of European settlement on Indigenous people. Dispossession. 2012. Cited from http://www. skwirk. com. au/p-c_s-56_u-426_t-1075_c-4149/WA/10/Impact-of-European-settlement-on-Indigenous-people/_tb-v [ 2 ]. Jens Korff. Myall Creek Massacre. 2012. Cited from http://www. creativespirits. nfo/aboriginalculture/history/myall-creek-massacre-1838 [ 3 ]. Red Apple Education. Disease. 2012. Cited from http://www. skwirk. com. au/p-c_s-17_u-455_t-1228_c-4700/disease/wa/disease/aboriginal-people-and-torres-strait-islanders/contact-with-europeans-the-effects [ 4 ]. ENIAR. The Stolen Generations. 2009. Cited from http://www. eniar. org/stolengenerations. html [ 5 ]. Red Apple Education. Impact of European settlement on Indigenous people. 2012. Cited from http://www. skwirk. com. au/p-c_s-56_u-426_t-1075_c-4149/WA/10/Impact-of-European-settlement-on-Indigenous-people/_tb-v