Massacres of indigenous people in post-colonial Australia

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

I stand accused of hating my country itself. I assure you, if I were born anywhere else, I’d foster hatred in a similar way. Why? It’s not the country I hate. It’s the people.

Pic: Waterloo creek massacre of 1838. (Source: Wikipedia)

Aboriginal Australians arrived in Australia 40,000 to 70,000 years ago from Southeast Asia. They had their own culture and knowledge of the land and managed to make habitats of every land mass in Australia from the northern rainforests to the central desert to the southern islands. 

Skip forward tens of thousands of years.

“On January 26, 1788, Captain Arthur Phillip guides a fleet of 11 British ships carrying convicts to the colony of New South Wales, effectively founding Australia.” (Source: history.com)

Several months pass. It’s 1788. The convicts... ahem... our ancestors decided Australia wasn’t big enough for themselves and the Indigenous people whom had been there for tens of thousands of years prior. So began the “Australian frontier wars”. This is the name we give to genocide we committed against the natives. 

At least 311 massacres over 140 years were documented resulting in the deaths of a minimum of 40,000 indigenous people and 2000-2500 colonists. These massacres were carried out by the British army and various branches of Australian police.

This went on as late as 1934 and is now seen as nothing short of a state-sanctioned attempt to eradicate aboriginals. Massacres occurred in different locations all throughout Australia but were particularly gruesome in Queensland because of the higher population density of aboriginals. This has led some scholars to believe the aboriginal death toll may have been much higher. 

The aboriginals were not recognised as having property rights under British law. However the British were supposedly instructed to live in harmony with the natives. Despite this...

First we transmitted to them smallpox and other diseases they had never been exposed to such as the common cold, flu, measles, venereal diseases and tuberculosis. Through this means half of their population was wiped out or weakened. Then squatters and their livestock moved inland, supported by British troops and Australian police. About a third of these conflicts happened in Queensland. 

From our arrival in 1788 it only took us until 1934 to commit genocide on the vast majority of the indigenous population. Then we had the gall to call it the “frontier wars” instead of the “frontier massacres”. 

The results of this conflict? 
- No treaty was signed. 
- British control over Australia was established (oh we’re “independent” now? How lovely. How stupid can you be?) 
- Indigenous Australians were dispossessed.
- annihilation of the indigenous population through British-introduced diseases, starvation, killings and forced migrations. 
- disruption of aboriginal culture and assimilation of the aboriginal survivors.

Most of the massacres were done using firearms but there were alternative approaches. For example there are over 9 documented incidents of settlers intentionally leaving out poisoned consumables in choice spots leading to mass poisonings of aboriginals. 

The officially recorded reasons for these massacres? Punitive responses to the killing of settlers by aboriginals or the theft or destruction of livestock.

In addition to massacres there are numerous recorded incidents of rape and torture of aboriginals by the British during this time. You need only research it yourself. 

So at what point did we stop being British occupants and start being Australians? Was it before or after we raped, tortured and massacred the native inhabitants of this country? Fuck you for calling yourself “Australian”, fuck the status quo of this country and fuck ubiquitous nationalism. 

Perhaps the only reason why you have pride in your country is because you have nothing else to be proud of because you are a rat in a maze and never achieved anything remarkable, so rather than feel ashamed you prefer to feel pride in glorifying the country you just so happened to be born into. 

If you were alive in Australia between 1788-1934, God knows you’d have helped to eradicate the aboriginals. Let’s not even imagine your being an aboriginal. It’s not like you possess the empathy for that scenario anyway. 

You were a convict then and you’re a peasant now. It’s not even about the money. It’s about your ideas and attitude. Like the John Lennon song “Working Class Hero”. I suggest you give that a listen.


Submitted: April 30, 2021

© Copyright 2021 olive tree. All rights reserved.

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