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Did the UK 'invade' Australia?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by lanokia, Mar 30, 2016.

  1. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter


    A top Australian university has rejected claims it is trying to rewrite the nation's colonial history.

    Students are being encouraged to use the term "invaded" rather than "settled" or "discovered", and avoid the word "Aborigines".

    The University of New South Wales (UNSW) Indigenous Terminology guidestates that Australia was "invaded, occupied and colonised".

    But UNSW says it does not mandate what language can and cannot be used.

    "It uses a more appropriate, less appropriate format," a UNSW spokesperson said in a statement to the BBC.

    "The guide suggests referring to Captain [James] Cook as the first Englishman to map the continent's East Coast is 'more appropriate' than referring to his 'discovery' of Australia."

    Students are instructed to use the terms "Indigenous Australian people" or "Aboriginal peoples" in place of "Aborigines" or "the Aboriginal people", to avoid implying that all Indigenous Australians are the same.

    The guide also lists words such as "primitive", "simple", "native" and "prehistoric" as less appropriate than "complex and diverse societies".

    Use of a term such as "nomadic" is discouraged on the grounds that it implies Indigenous Australians were not permanently settled, supporting the doctrine of terra nullius that English settlers used to justify occupying land in Australia.

    The guidelines have sparked outrage in Australia's tabloid Daily Telegraph newspaper and on talkback radio.
  2. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    Occupied and colonised seem accurate. I'm not sure we invaded but that's because many of the "invaders" didn't have a lot of choice in the matter.
  3. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Australians, at least educated and (esp) liberal ones, have a great deal of guilt about the fate of the Aborigines. On our recent (first) visit we notice just how many guided tours started with the guide thanking, or referring to the Aborigine tribe who were/are the original 'guardians' or 'caretakers' (their words) of the land the museum, house, gardens etc. were built on.

    But, we tended to ask, where are those aborigines now? In 4 weeks (visiting 5 states)we hardly saw any (one or two outside the hospital, one or two, apparently drunk, near a railway station). Otherwise they are simply not visible.
    aspensquiver_2 likes this.
  4. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    I'm not sure I have an issue with the word 'invaded' ... it was just we had such a technological advantage that any native resistance could be easily dismissed.

    It's similar to the USA with the 'manifest destiny' and the 'settlement of the west'... not the invasion of the plains or the conquest...
  5. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    If you want to colonise a land then you must invade it first.

  6. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Can a land be 'invaded'? Surely only a country can be...and - despite what some may say - there weren't enough Aborigines* to occupy the huge space that is Australia (it's still pretty empty today...!) So msot of it was pretty empty when the Europeans arrived...

    * Wikipedia says this: "At the time of first European contact, it is estimated that between 315,000 and 750,000 people lived in Australia, with upper estimates being as high as 1.25 million". The area of Australia is: 7.692 million km²
  7. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    I'd say so Frank... sure a land can be invaded... just because the people living there hadn't formed nation states as recognised by European institutions doesn't mean they didn't have legitimate rights to the land that went unrecognised by the newcomers.

    The land was empty? The Boers said that too, so did the Europeans settling the New World [smallpox helped], arguments about Israel often come down to 'ah the Palestines were small in number'

    Is low population density a justification for occupation and colonisation? If Indonesia [140km] decided it should invade Australia [8km] is that legitimate?
  8. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    "Discovery" has always been an inaccurate term as most places have had indigenous people's for thousands of years, the only places truly discovered were Antarctica and some oceanic islands such as the Galapagos.

    Invasion to me implies resistance and a deliberate act of invasion rather than colonisation and settlement which as Flere said is more like what happened.

    I think words like "primitive" apply to societies that are hunter-gatherer, have only simple technologies and barter economies, like "simple" it is a relative term, compared to 500 years time, this is probably a primitive and simple time.

    Then again Australia does seem to have a bigger problem with old fashioned simply expressed racism than most other westernised countries and they do need to address it.
  9. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Is there a Platonic ratio or people to stuff floating out there in the ether? If you're not using all the cash stuffed into your mattress then have I a right to take it?
  10. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter


    Are we just assuming there was no resistance? Fulfilling the Australian caricature of the lazy aborigine?
  11. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    Ok, fair enough. I've heard of something like that in in Tasmania, but didn't know about that, a consequence of popular history being written by the winners I suppose.

    I know that some of the earliest settlers had a very hard time as they landed in places that looked very green and lush but had virtually no food that people could eat and so had few or no aboriginals living there.

    I think there was also a lack of understanding. Hunter-gatherers require a much wider range to get enough food and may not go to an area except at certain times of the year or even not for a few years, money stuffed in distant mattresses to use Vince's analogy. Europeans expected to be farmers and probably saw if the land wasn't obviously being used, then it was up for grabs.
    Vince_Ulam and lanokia like this.
  12. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    And remember most of the wildlife wants to kill you...

    I think that's a pretty good summing up.
  13. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    There's also the cultural aspect. Europeans saw their own behaviours as more civilised and hence justified their actions on the basis that they were "improving" things for the benefit of the "primitive natives".
    wanet likes this.
  14. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    (This is what I was talking about in terms of Star Trek Next Gen plots - they very much interrogate the idea of the advanced civilisation colonising others and destroying them in the process.)
  15. bonkers 704

    bonkers 704 Lead commenter

    Israeli apologists often inform us that Palestine was "empty land" before the Jewish settlers arrived there from the 1880s onwards. Unfortunately there is a trend in historiography to "erasing" entire peoples whose presence in an area is inconvenient to those in power.
    aspensquiver_2 likes this.
  16. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    The indigenous Aboriginal people would have migrated to Australia from Africa via Asia and colonised it some time during the Palaeolithic, as (to the best of anyone's knowledge) Australasia was not the cradle of humankind. In that respect they too were colonisers - it's all a matter of perspective. If you don't believe that, jump in your TARDIS and ask any European Neanderthal about their thoughts on the immigration issue.

    The last known aboriginal group to live the traditional hunter-gatherer lifestyle left the bush in the 1980s.
  17. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    A possible response could be...

    Of course we didn't invade Australia! We made Australia. Australia is a political entity founded on some territory... without Britain there'd be no Australia for them to get all hand-wringing about...

    Not my view, more a Daily Telegraph-esque response.
  18. Milgod

    Milgod Established commenter

    Does it matter?

    Invaded/colonised/settled. The fact is that the Europeans 'won' and got what they wanted. Nothing wrong with admitting it. Not sure why the Australians have so much guilt over it all.
    wanet likes this.
  19. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    You're welcome to any cash you find in my mattress....:D
  20. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    Everyone to Frank's house!

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