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The Causes and Effects of Britain's Colonisation of Australia
Transcript of The Causes and Effects of Britain's Colonisation of Australia
As a temporary accommodation measure, prisoners were held at various ports in hulks (the rotting hulls of old ships). These quickly became overcrowded, creating riots that alarmed the authorities and the people living nearby.
To the government, establishing a penal colony in New South Wales seemed the ideal solution as:
• It silenced those who were complaining to them about overcrowding in prisons and hulks
• It established a British presence that would prevent any other nations from settling the land
• New South Wales was regarded as completely unsettled, so there would be no war for possession. Reports of the Indigenous inhabitants suggested they would present no problems, especially when faced with the ‘superior’ and ‘civilising’ influence of the British. The British saw the colonisation of Australia as an opportunity to add to their growing empire. They could now own two countries instead of just one. British convicts had usually been sent to work on the plantations growing sugar cane, cotton and tobacco in the West Indies and America. However, after the Americans won the war against the British and America became an independent country, Britain could no longer transport convicts there. All the gaols quickly became overcrowded and the best way to solve their convict problem was to send the convicts to Botany Bay. As stated by Lord Sydney (1786) ‘The several gaols and places for the confinement of felons in this kingdom being in so crowded a state that the greatest danger is to be apprehended, not only from their escape, but from infectious distempers, which may hourly be expected to break out amongst them.’ The first European settlers did not notice the complex Indigenous social structure and relationship with the land. The white settlers believed they had absolute right to live on the land and to establish a British colony in what was in their view terra nullius – land that did not legally belong to anyone. British imperialism was to decimate the Indigenous Australians. The Indigenous peoples knew themselves to be the ‘landowners’ and they expected to share the products of the land: for example, the sheep and vegetables grown by the white settlers. This became increasingly necessary as settlement expanded and began to push Indigenous peoples away from their traditional lands, denying them access to their food supplies.
A lot of disagreements resulted from this because the Europeans saw this as stealing instead of sharing.
The Indigenous peoples lived a nomadic life with clearly defined traditions. They would hunt and gather from the land all that they needed to survive. The European settlers had no idea that some places were sacred to the Aborigines. The conflicts that resulted were often cruel and violent, as the settlers did not want anything to stand in the way of their progress. As a way to bring the two cultures together, the Europeans would break apart Aboriginal families as they wanted to educate the children. At one stage, the Europeans wanted to destroy the whole Aboriginal culture by taking the children away from their tribal elders who would usually have taught them all of their culture. This led to the stolen generations, which was a very dark time in Australia’s history. Although Captain Arthur Phillip’s orders clearly stated that he was to be friendly to the Indigenous Australians and that he was to punish anybody who harmed them, relationships were difficult from the start. Conflicts were quick to develop, particularly between the convicts and the Indigenous population. Phillip attempted to bridge the gap between the two cultures by capturing Indigenous people to act as interpreters. All the early experiments with captured ‘natives’ ended tragically with the captives dying, running away or finding themselves belonging to neither white nor Indigenous society. Many of the viruses and bacteria that the British settlers brought with them were deadly to the Indigenous peoples, including smallpox, influenza, measles, chickenpox and tuberculosis. Most devastating of all was the smallpox virus. As smallpox seemed to kill young people and women in higher proportions than any other group, it decimated the Indigenous population and prevented rapid recovery of population numbers. Indigenous people were especially vulnerable as they had no immunity and lived in small scattered clan groups. It is estimated that half the Indigenous population around Sydney died of smallpox in 1789. Many Indigenous people starved to death as they were unable to hunt or collect food when they became ill. Aboriginal and European Conflict Thanks for watching............. Meg and Michaela's presentation on.......................................
Britain's Colonisation of Australia:) Lord Sydney Sugar Cane Cotton Tobacco