Ben Peek (benpeek) wrote,
Ben Peek

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well. crap.

i had a whole nice long post going along here. all about the changes in direction, the new things that would be coming, and that sort of thing. in other words, i was busy explaining how i was wrong, how there were changes, and here is some nice history of sydney, because this the direction i'm going now, ect. ect. but that's not here, and do you know why?

because i am an idiot: i tried to put in a link, and deleted everything i had written instead. how lovely of me.

so here we go, again.

sydney, the destination of the first fleet, and where the first white colonist landed, led by the genteel arthur phillip, who brought a bunch of convicts with him, was colonised in the summer of 1788. (January for those whose summer is elsewhere.) australia, or new holland as it was known until 1817, was first spotted on the western side by dutch navigators sometimes in the seventeen hundreds, while the british discovered it with james cook, in 1770. the koori, the name aborigines used to describe themselves throughout australia nowadays, had been living there for around 40, 000 years. (though some suggest it is longer. but the way i figure, 40 or 75, it's still a significantly higher number than the two hundred and fourteen that settled australia claims.) at the time of the british and their arrival, there were 750, 000 koori men and women throughout all of australia.

the british arrived with criminals, soldiers, livestock and food to plant, and they also bought with them disease, and one can imagine, a general sense of despair that they had been sent here, where nothing like london existed. that this changed by the early eighteen hundreds, and that people back in britain thought of australia as a place where they could get a new start, and could rise above their station, gives you the image of a overcrowded, poor, disease ridden london, which, in some cases, i am sure was the case. the british were even paying to send the people who wanted to come here, and immigrants upon leaky boats did arrive. they still do, for much the same reasons, and they are resisted, for much the same reason the aboriginals came to resist.

however, upon his arrival, arthur phillip did not set about killing off the natives. the british empire, having spent years colonising the heathens, had learnt a few tricks, and as geoffrey moorhouse quotes (and thus i quote him) arthur had orders that he was to 'endeavour by every possible means to open an intercourse with the natives, and to conciliate their affections, enjoin all our subjects to live in amity and kindness with them.'

of course, to do this, phillip had to kidnap an koori. in fact, he had to kidnap three, because the first one died of smallpox, and the second one escaped. phillip, however, must have been aware of the irony, for when he was speared by an aboriginal, he forgave the man, and had a party on the beach to show this.

the koori who was taught english, and who developed a taste for wine, was called bennelong. though he and phillip appeared to have a strong bond, he was not considered by others to be anything else than a savage, which is what is obituary called him when he died.

arthur phillip, however, being australia's first governor, and thus first leader, is one of the few whose treatment of the kooris--given the time and the climate he was in--was exceptional. it is also a treatment that did not continue, as the 750,000 in australia (a number in nsw is unavailable to me at this moment) turned into 'an estimate for new south wales as a whole in 1966... of no more than 130 'pure' aborigines, with twenty three thousand claiming part descent.'

the crimes against the kooris are many, and i am a bit curious why moorhouse (this is where i got the quote above) picked a 1966 census when his book was written in 2000. perhaps it is as simple as the census no deferiating between the two. but the crimes against the kooris were many, the most well known and well covered, being that of the stolen generation, where koori children were taken, by force, from their parents, and then taught how to do menial tasks and sent out into western culture. the practice started up in 1901, and, according to the human rights and equal opportunity commission web site, was still going in the 1970's.

i will not try to make a neat little link with a word. i learnt my lesson beforehand, and instead offer which you can copy and past should you have a burning desire to read that.

of course, the stolen generation didn't kill off most of the koori population in australia. that was smallpox, and other disease, brought over by the british, whose examples of british living were probably steeped in disease, if not from actually living in the slums of britain, then by the conditions on the ships that brought them.

that arthur phillip's kindness towards the locals, inherent as a characteristic, or because of orders, or what he believed as necessity, for whatever reason he did it, that this kindness did not survive after phillip left is of no surprise. armed with disease and superior weapons, and fueled by the inhospitable conditions, being convicts in service to an empire on the other side of the world, and a general sense of being part of an 'empire'... well, i suppose it was amazing that phillip did try to work with the koori.

anyhow. that's todays bit. who knows what i lost in that original draft?

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