03 : Aborigines Today
Warren Mundine (part Aborigine) did an opinion piece in the Australian recently about shifting Australia Day to a different date.
The following excellent reply/comment was posted.
On 26 January 1788 when the First Fleet ships unloaded their c1200 convicts, Royal Marine guards and officials not a shot was fired. As they looked around what’s now Circular Quay they saw nothing other than bush. Not a single building, planted field, domesticated plant or animal – nothing at all. It was the same across the continent. It was “terra nullius” – a vacant land.
There was no Aboriginal Army to defeat in battle. There was nothing to claim as the spoils of victory. There was just wild bush. The few Aborigines who came out to have a look at these strange people were completely illiterate and innumerate and those on the south side of the harbour spoke a language completely unintelligible to those on the north side of the harbour and they’d been constantly at war with each other for as long as anyone can remember.
There was no “invasion”.
Captain Phillip was instructed by the government in London to treat the natives “with amity and kindness” and he did. No Aborigines were shot; no platoon of Marines fixed their bayonnettes or loaded their muskets or took a shot at anyone who emerged from the bush to see what was going on. Instead they offered them gifts and friendship.
Most people now “identified” as “indigenous” – like myself and my children and grandchildren have European – mostly British – ancestry to a greater or lesser extent. I recently had a DNA test done that shows I’m 48% Irish, 20% English, 30% Scandinavian, 1% Spanish and 1% Aboriginal. The absurdity is that, in this time of identity politics, I am an “Aborigine” by virtue of the fact that one of my Irish ancestors married and Aboriginal woman 6 generations ago.
There is no reason to change Australia Day. It was the day “Australia” came into being and had it not been for those British coming ashore on 26 January 1788 I wouldn’t exist and neither would Mr Mundine. The name “Mundine” is as English as a cold pork pie or fish-n-chips wrapped in newspaper.
It’s time for all indigenous people to get over what happened 229 years ago and stop playing the victim.