Read Australian history in an hour. Mark Peel and Andrew Weldon wrote a 86-page book that provides a readable narrative of Australia’s major milestones since Captain Cook’s “discovery” of the continent .
On the onset, the issue focuses on land ownership.
Peel disputes Cook’s claim of “terra nullius” when he landed on NSW in 1770. He argues that more than one million people had already inhabited the continent. He also provides poignant sketches of Aboriginal people; although they were shocked to learn they are not the only people living on Earth at the first sight of foreign arrivals, they were generous and willing to share the land. The new settlers, however, had other plans– including to forcibly possess the whole land and to impose their own sovereignty.
Decimation of indigenous people followed, along with the consequent arrivals of convicts from far away land turning the new discovered land into in land of gaols.
For the rest of the story, like many history books, it details the chronology of events – from the Gold Rush that defined Australia’s wealth to the process of federation, Chinese threat and White Australia Policy, First and Second World Wars, ANZAC and Gallipoli, and other issues of contemporary times.
Australian history has never been made easier to read than this book. See my Goodreads shelf for Australia
Apologies for the Stolen Generation
The key to healing and reconciliation among all people in Australia is to recognise the grave injustices committed against the original inhabitants of this land. Various initiatives have been forged to help uplift the conditions of the most disadvantaged sector of society. The most historic gesture was the offical public apology pronounced by former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in February 2008, an act his predecessors had adamantly rejected.
Apology Transcript published by the Australian Government
Title: Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, MP – Apology to Australia’s Indigenous peoples; Duration : 4 mins, 3 secs; Recorded: Wednesday, February 13, 2008, 9:09am AEDT; Location: Parliament of Australia, House of Representatives; Author: Parliament of Australia – Department of Parliamentary Services
That today we honour the Indigenous peoples of this land, the oldest continuing cultures in human history.We reflect on their past mistreatment.We reflect in particular on the mistreatment of those who were Stolen Generations – this blemished chapter in our nation’s history.
The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia’s history by righting the wrongs of the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future.
We apologise for the laws and policies of successive Parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians.
We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country.
For the pain, suffering and hurt of these Stolen Generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry.
To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry.
And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry.
We the Parliament of Australia respectfully request that this apology be received in the spirit in which it is offered as part of the healing of the nation.
For the future we take heart; resolving that this new page in the history of our great continent can now be written.
We today take this first step by acknowledging the past and laying claim to a future that embraces all Australians.
A future where this Parliament resolves that the injustices of the past must never, never happen again.
A future where we harness the determination of all Australians, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to close the gap that lies between us in life expectancy, educational achievement and economic opportunity.A future where we embrace the possibility of new solutions to enduring problems where old approaches have failed.
A future based on mutual respect, mutual resolve and mutual responsibility.
A future where all Australians, whatever their origins, are truly equal partners, with equal opportunities and with an equal stake in shaping the next chapter in the history of this great country, Australia.
This page does not intend to provide a history or an in-depth analysis on the issues of Aboriginal Australia. Instead, it gives a glimpse on one of the multitude of issues confronting this “Lucky Country.”
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