NATIONAL: Tracker’s history buff PHIL MUNDINE* looks into the history books to bring you the most significant dates to Aboriginal Australia in the month of August.
1794: Aboriginal people on the Hawkesbury River, NSW are dispossessed of their land by the arrival of 70 colonial farmers.
1795: Martial law is declared to deal with the Aboriginal community on the Hawkesbury River, NSW.
1806: Martial law is again declared in the Hawkesbury River area after the local Aboriginal community continue their resistance to the invasion of colonial farmers.
The casualties from the Hawkesbury River wars amounted to a higher percentage of the Hawkesbury River population than either of the first or second world wars.
Over half the Aboriginal population had died due to smallpox by 1790.
1824: Lake Macquarie mission is established (also recorded as possibly opening in May 1824).
1835: The land treaty made between former NSW resident and Tasmanian farmer John Batman and the Doutt Galla people of the soon to be colony of Victoria was declared illegal by the NSW colonial government and British government under the rule of Terra Nullius.
Under this law all land was owned by the Crown and there were no natives to negotiate with.
1 August 1971: Kevin Gilbert’s first play and work by an Aboriginal dramatist, The Cherry Pickers, is work shopped at the Mews theatre in Sydney.
4 August: National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day.
9 August: International Day of the Worlds Indigenous People.
18 August 1786: The British government chooses Botany Bay as a penal colony.
19 August 1975: Gurindji people gain leasehold title to part of Wave Hill Station.
22 August 1770: Captain Cook raised the English ensign on Possession Island and took possession of the entire east coast of Australia in the name of King George III of England.
This was despite his orders from the British government to negotiate with any natives he may encounter.
He later reported upon his return to England that New Holland (Australia) was in fact Terra Nullius. An empty land.
23 August 1966: Gurindji Freedom Day. Aboriginal stockmen and domestic staff of the Gurindji people strike at Wave Hill Station and camp at Wattle Creek. Subsequent strikes occur at Roper River and Victoria River Downs in the Northern Territory.
26 August 1994: Cathy Freeman wins the 400 metres gold medal at the Commonwealth games and whilst running her victory lap carries both the Aboriginal and Australian flags. This was highly controversial and was loudly criticised by certain sections of the Australian media and some Australian Commonwealth games officials.
1972: The NSW Education Department withdraws a section of the teacher’s handbook which detailed the principal’s right to refuse enrolment to Aboriginal children. The enrolment could be refused based on home conditions or substantial opposition from the community.
24 August 1824: Martial law declared against Aboriginal people living west of Mount York, NSW.
27 August 1841: Rufus River Massacre in Lake Victoria South Australia. At least 30 or up to 35 Aboriginal people were killed when caught in a crossfire by police and squatters while trying to prevent “Overlanders” from passing through their land.
1981: The Community Relations Commissioner reported that racial discrimination is widespread throughout Queensland.