Kangaroo and koala, Vegemite and didgeridoo: those are a few things we think of when of Australia. People are friendly, despite the fact that their past was horrible. People never really talk about their past. With the shipping of kids from Britain and the removal of Aboriginal people, Australia has a very cruel history.
Aboriginals are the original Australians. Aboriginals came to Australia from Asia. They have owned and been in Australia for roughly between 45,000 and 50,000 years. Aboriginals arrived in Australia during the era of lowered sea levels, when there was a land bridge from Asia to Australia (Tonkinson).
Now there is only about three percent of their cultural lifestyle left. Aboriginals used to hunt and gather for food. They would occasionally ate sea turtles and they had a special way of cooking them. Aboriginals had a very strong relationship with the land and each other. “The Dreamtime” was what they referred to as the beginning of time. They believe that was when their ancestors rose from under the earth and transformed into a part of nature, so their ancestors are spiritually alive. Aboriginals have oral story telling which shows their vibrant cultural life; they also had songs which were related to “The Dreamtime” and other stories. The Aboriginals also have dances and diagrams drawn in the sand to help with the oral storytelling (Siasoco).
Today, the Aboriginals earn their living through selling artwork. In the Northern Territory, they have sculptures, rock painting, and beadwork. The didgeridoo, is an Australian wind instrument, was played for formal ceremonies. (Siasoco)
Slowly Aboriginal culture is drifting away, leaving about three percent of the Aboriginal people still practices their cultural traditions. One reason why this has happened is because Aboriginal children were taken away from their families by white Australians.The white Australians did this in hope of ending all Aboriginal culture and to rid of all the Aboriginals.This process happened between the 1890s and 1970s (Kroff). The stolen children lived with foster parents. If they were caught talking in their aboriginal language they were punished. This is because the white Australians wanted the Aboriginal culture to end. The stolen girls became domestic servants, and the boys were stockmen. Over 6,200 children were stolen. Families ended up losing contact with each other, some moving to the Northern Territory and some moving to the southern territory of Australia (Kroff). The removal of Aboriginal children from their homes and tradition helped to destroy the Aboriginal culture.
Not only were the Aboriginal children taken from their families and given to white Australians, but many unwanted British children were shipped to Australia. This process started in 1618, and by 1970 about 130,000 unwanted children had been shipped out of Britain.
During the Post-war era, the separation that occurs after wars (This one in particular was after World War II), about 3300 unwanted children were sent to Australia, and 1,000 sent to Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), New Zealand, and Canada (Smith). Children as young as three years old were being shipped and were told that their parents died. The children shipped to Australia and Canada felt like they are being enslaved. The children shipped to New Zealand move from family to family, staying with foster families. The children shipped to Tasmania worked as part of the child migrant plan. If the children shipped to Australia didn’t do things perfectly or in a certain way then the foster family would throw stones or shovels at them until they did it correctly (Smith). The part the children hated most was that they did not even get their promise of a better education Later, many siblings made an effort to look for each other, hoping to find their family members, while risking their lives (Smith). Luckily this process ended in 1976, and the shipping of children is officially over.
Although the shipping of unwanted British children and the removal of aboriginal children have stopped, this was a very upsetting time in history for Australians. Even though citizens suffered, gratefully the Aboriginals gained their freedom, and the shipping of unwanted children from Britain stopped. It is very important to realize that Australians past can affect our future, and that events might reoccur. All the tragics have made Australia’s open up and think about their mistakes and make events about it (Such as National Apology day,when they appreciate all the suffering the Aboriginals went through for their country). The suffering of the Aboriginals also lead to various cultural and traditional event in Australia, like Australia Day. Even after all the tragic moments, Australia today is a strong country with a loving environment.
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