Koori Peoples' History
The outside world started to make contact with some Aboriginal skin-groups. People from what is now Indonesia established trade relations with people of the north. Later when European sailors made contact, some of it was positive for Aborigial peoples including sharing technologies. Other aspects of this early contact had a negative impact, in particular the introduction of diseases.
First Fleet arrives
The First Fleet arrives and builds a settlement at Port Jackson in Sydney, New South Wales. The beginning of permanent European settlement of this land. The early years are devastating for the Aboriginal people who live around Sydney Cove. Killings, incarceration, forced removal from land, wars, disease, restriction of movement and early attempts at forced assimilation all occur in these early years.
enters Botany Bay
Captain Cook enters Botany Bay on the Endeavour. The British Government does not recognise the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their special connection with the land. Instead, they claim the land for the British Crown and declare that Australia is terra nullius – land belonging to nobody.
In 1768, Captain James Cook was issued with orders from theBritish Empire that if he discovered the great southern land he was to ‘with the consent of the natives, take possession of convenient situations in the name of the King ... or if (he was to) find the land uninhabited take possession for His Majesty’.
With the British presence in Australia established, settlement spread quickly across the continent. While in many areas, good relations existed between settlers and Aboriginal people, the century was devastating for Indigenous Australians. When the British arrived there were between 300,000 and 1 million Indigenous people throughout the Australian continent. At least 3 out of 4 Indigenous Australians did not survive colonisation.
make a treaty
In 1835, John Batman, a pastoralist and explorer, tries to make a treaty with Aboriginal people for Port Phillip Bay by ‘buying’ 243,000 hectares with 20 pairs of blankets, 30 tomahawks, various and other articles and an annual tribute. But Governor Bourke does not recognise the treaty.
sacred right to land
In 1836-37, a select committee of the British House of Commons says that Aborigines have a ‘plain right and sacred right’ to their land. Between the two world wars it is determined that children with non-Indigenous ancestry should be taken from their families and raised in white institutions. This approach leads to the forced removal of children—what is now known as the ‘stolen generations’. During this time, Aboriginal missions are
established by a number churches.
The Commonwealth of Australia is proclaimed on 1 January 1901 in Centennial Park, Sydney by Lord Hopetoun, the first Governor General. The colonies became states, and a Federal Parliament was formed according to the Constitution. Edmund Barton becomes the first Prime Minister of Australia.
Although legislation had been passed in various
states as early as 1868, the rate of state sanctionedAboriginl child removalsbythe became one in three and one in ten Indigenous children were forcibly removed from their families and communities in the period from approximately 1910 until 1970
Momentum for change
April 1925 - In April 1925, the Australian Aboriginal Progressive Association is formed and holds the first of four highly successful conferences in Sydney. This mobilised support from a growing number of non-Indigenous organisations, including philanthropic, humanitarian and church groups.
Early 20th Century
By the early 1900s, armed resistance from Indigenous peoples wanes and poisonings and massacres decrease. Slowly, the population begins to increase. In this period, legislation is introduced that describes the relationship as one of ‘protection’. By 1911 laws are taken up in all states, giving government’s total control over the lives of Indigenous Australians, dictating where they could live and be employed. It also makes all children of Aboriginal people’s wards of the state, meaning they can be removed without permission.
Counted as Australian citizens
In 1948, the Commonwealth Citizenship and Nationality Act gives the category of Australian Citizenship to all Australians, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, for the first time. However, at a state government level Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples still suffer discrimination.
Right to vote
The Commonwealth Electoral Act is amended to give the vote to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples at Federal elections. The Act provides that Indigenous Australians should have the right to enrol and vote at federal elections but enrolment was not compulsory. Despite this amendment, it is illegal under Commonwealth legislation to encourage Indigenous Australians to enrol to vote. Western Australia extends the State vote to Aboriginal people. Three years later Queensland becomes the last state to grant Indigenous Australians the right to vote in state elections.
After a decade long campaign by Indigenous and non- Indigenous people working side by side to move the nation forward, a referendum held in May 1967 is the most successful this nation has ever seen. More than 90 per cent of Australian voters say YES that Indigenous people should be counted in the national census of the population.
26 January 1972 - On Australia Day in 1972, the
Aboriginal Tent Embassy is pitched outside Parliament House in Canberra. The activists were protesting against the McMahon Liberal Government’s statement in which land rights were rejected in favour of 50-year leases to Aboriginal communities. The protesters issued a petition in February, which detailed a five point plan addressing Aboriginal ownership of existing reserves and settlements, preservation of all sacred sites, $6 million in compensation and full rights of statehood for the Northern Territory.
The Whitlam Government establishes the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and commits to a policy of self- determination. Three years later, the Australian Senate unanimously endorses a resolution put up by Aboriginal Senator Neville Bonner acknowledging prior ownership of this country by Indigenous peoples. Federal Parliament also passes the Racial Discrimination Act.
All timeline information from Reconcilation Australia https://www.reconciliation.org.au/