History Tuesday………………..Australia

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On this history Tuesday I thought I would tell you a bit about the history of Australia, we are going far far back in history.

The first settlers are thought to have arrived around 50,000 years ago. This would have most likely been at a time when the sea levels were low, the land was more humid and animals larger.

Although much of Australia became populated, the central dry areas didn’t attract settlers until around 25,000 years ago. The population grew proportionately quicker around 10,000 years ago as the climate improved.

At the time of British settlement at Sydney Cove it is estimated that 300,000 aboriginal people, speaking around 250 languages inhabited Australia.

On arrival, finding no obvious political structure, the Europeans took the land as their own. The Indigenous people were driven out of their homes and many killed. Various new European diseases spread rapidly amongst the indigenous people, killing many. The introduction of feral and domestic animals contributed to the destruction of natural habitats.

During the early part of the 20th century legislation’s were passed to segregate and protect Aboriginals. This involved restrictions on where they could live and work and families being broken up.

After World War II, assimilation became the governments aim. All rights were taken away from the Aboriginals and attempts made to ‘Europeanise’ them.

During the 1960’s the legislation was reviewed and the Federal Government passed legislation for all Aboriginals to be given citizen status. However, it wasn’t until 1972 that the indigenous people were given back limited rights to their own land. The situation has been steadily improving for Australia’s Indigenous people, although many feel more needs to be done.

I will speak more about our history in the weeks and months to come.

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