Aboriginal timeline: Dispossession

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1770

  1. 29 April

    Captain James Cook claims possession of the whole east coast of Australia for the British Crown on Possession Island, a small island in the Torres Strait Islands. Many history classes and books start teaching Australian history from this point on.

1804

  1. Most of the Cumberland Plain west of Sydney is occupied by colonists. The Eora people are being dispossessed of their land.

1810

  1. Aboriginal people begin to be moved onto mission stations where they can be taught European beliefs and used as cheap labour. Settlers try to control growth of the Aboriginal population with a policy of absorption.

1830

  1. Aboriginal people in Tasmania are forcibly removed and settled on Flinders Island. The living conditions lead to many deaths. Later the community is moved to Cape Barren Island.

  2. October

    Governor Arthur tries unsuccessfully to drive all the remaining Aboriginal people in eastern Australia on to the Tasman Peninsula. 2,200 settlers, military, police and convicts form a ‘Black Line’. It was the largest force assembled against Aboriginal people anywhere in Australia and cost 5,000 pounds (equivalent to about AUD 1.2 million in 2008) and only two Aboriginal people are caught – an old man and a young boy.

1835

  1. The Dunghutti people of north coast NSW are now confined to 40 hectares of land on the Bellwood Reserve, near present day Kempsey. They previously owned 250,000 hectares.

1848

  1. New South Wales native police troopers are brought to Queensland to kill Aboriginal people and open up the land for settlement.

1849

  1. Land Commissioner McDonald reported widespread food shortages among Aboriginal people in the Murray District after their displacement by pastoralists who took their land for sheep stations.

1851

  1. The development of a system of pastoral leases in South Australia begins. Governor Young insists that all pastoral leases should include reservations in favour of Aboriginal people, allowing them access to pastoral lands.

1886

  1. Men and women of the Coranderrk Aboriginal Reserve (60 kms north-east from Melbourne) fight the Aboriginal Protection Board which wants to break up the successful community that’s growing hops and doing better than neighbouring white farms. Walking to Melbourne, they deliver a petition to the Victorian government. But the majority of the residents are removed under the Protection Act which cripples Coranderrk as an enterprise. The government closes it in 1924.

1889

  1. 3 April

    A judgement of the Lords of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council finds that New South Wales, at the time of the arrival of the British, was in fact "a tract of territory practically unoccupied, without settled inhabitants or settled law" and that it was "peacefully annexed". [1] The ruling goes on to become the skeleton of Australian law with no court daring to rule against it. [2]

1927

  1. Aboriginal people are banned from central Perth until 1948.

1929

  1. Queensland Protector of Aborigines recommends to the federal government that Aboriginal people be assimilated where they are in contact with European society and that inviolable reserves be established for tribal people.

1963

  1. November

    Police evict residents at Mapoon, an Aboriginal community in far north Queensland. The people are forcibly taken to other reserves and their settlement is burned down, to allow Comalco mine the biggest bauxite deposit in the world.

1965

  1. Northern Territory patrol officers ‘bring in’ the last group of Aboriginal people - the Pintubi people - living independently in the desert. They are relocated to Papunya and Yuendumu, about 300 kms north-west of Alice Springs.

1975

  1. 1 June

    Racial Discrimination Act is passed in the federal parliament. The Australian Senate unanimously endorses a resolution put up by Senator Neville Bonner acknowledging prior ownership of this country by Aboriginal people and seeking compensation for their dispossesion.

1983

  1. Aboriginal Land Rights Act (NSW) recognises dispossession and dislocation of NSW Aboriginal people with land tax funding as compensation, and sets up a 3-tiered system of Aboriginal Land Councils (state, regional and local).

2020

  1. 29 April

    250th anniversary of Captain James Cook claiming possession of Australia for the British Crown.

References

View article sources (2)

[72145] Cooper v Stuart (1889) 14 App Cas 286, 291 (Lord Watson), available at www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKPC/1889/1889_16.html, retrieved 8/9/2019
[72145a] 'In our land not yet won, who are we Australians?', SMH 26/1/2019

Harvard citation

Korff, J 2019, Aboriginal timeline: Dispossession, <https://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/history/australian-aboriginal-history-timeline/dispossession>, retrieved 6 December 2019

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