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The Causes and Effects of Britain's Colonisation of Australia

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Meg Michaela

on 29 March 2011

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Transcript of The Causes and Effects of Britain's Colonisation of Australia

Britain's Colonisation of Australia 1788 Causes Effects on the Aborigines Economical Political Social According to Cook's journal the positive features for Australia's east coast includethe potential to plant and cultivate"Most sorts of grain, fruits, roots etc." Why the British came to Australia Social Economical Cultural By Meg and Michaela 9B Settling in Australia presented many opportunities to trade and to expand Britain’s colonies. As a growing industrial nation, trade was important to supply a market for goods and also to bring back much needed raw materials to Britain. According to Sir Joseph Banks’ evidence (1779) ‘…He did not doubt but our oxen and sheep if carried there would thrive and increase…...The grass was long and luxuriant, and there were some eatable vegetables, particularly a sort of wild spinage; the country was well supplied with water; there was abundance of timber and fuel, sufficient for any number of buildings which might be found necessary… and it was not to be doubted, that a tract of land such as New Holland, which was larger than the whole of Europe, would furnish matter of advantageous return.’ Because Australia is an island it means that it is totally surrounded by water and the British could definitely benefit in the fishery business with the advantage of being so close to the water. Also being close to the water meant that Australia was a perfect location to set up a marine base. According to Captain James Cook’s journal ‘…In this extensive country it can never be doubted but what most sorts of grain, fruits, roots etc. of every kind would flourish here were they once brought hither, planted and cultivated…’ Sir Joseph Banks Captain James Cook In 1777 a report, The State of Prisons, recommended new and more efficiently run jails with provision for work, segregation of the sexes and single-cell accommodation to be built. This was too expensive, so the British government did nothing.
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
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