Final Task – Reflective Essay

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Heritage of Indigenous Australians is a major aspect of Australian history. History of Aboriginal settlement in Australia goes back more than 7000 years. Indigenous identity is of continuing importance and also culturally important, establishing and sustaining continuous ties between land and people. Places with considerable importance and prominence to indigenous peoples involve places identified with Dreaming tales about the rules of the land and how people will respond, locations connected with their faith, sites where many communities have come into connection with indigenous peoples and cultures important to more contemporary uses.

Terra nullius is a Latin term which means "land which belongs to none." British colonialism and ensuing Australian various legislations were formed under the pretense that Australia was terra nullius, supporting the acquisition without an agreement or compensation by British invasion. This basically revoked the earlier ownership of the land by aboriginal people. Then, Justice Blackburn found in the 1971 Gove land rights case that Australia was a terra nullius previous to European invasion. Court decisions cases in 1977, 1979, and 1982 strenuously defended this decision. Even so, on 20th of May 1982, on the island of Mer in the Torres Strait, Eddie Koiki Mabo and four other Indigenous Meriam people started their legal ruling to possess their ancestral homelands. The myth of Terra Nullius is also a conceptual story of the initial years of Aboriginal opposition and colonization interruption. 

Regardless of the myth of Terra Nullius, the figures for Australia's aboriginal residency differ. Statistics are uncertain however there is general agreement that the advent of Europeans decimated the indigenous population. Several reports indicate that the population declined by about 87 percent between the advent of the First Fleet in January 1788 and 1900. Population decimation led to state policies that treated Indigenous Australians as a 'dying race' and the best solution was to promote 'assimilation'. The Aborigines Protection Act of 1909 saw the forced relocation of aboriginal children from their near ones. The policy remained in effect until 1969. The children are labeled as the "Stolen Generations." Aboriginal language and cultural traditions were banned by force execution of power.

Aboriginal Australians were not included in the census until a 1967 independence referendum to pass a constitutional amendment. The electorate also agreed that the parliament should enact legislation related to indigenous Australians; historically these had been established at state and local level, which implied that the interests of indigenous Australians were incoherent with the state policies. In the year 1992, Australia's high court dismissed Terra Nullius' legal doctrine. The court recognized indigenous ownership of land in the case of Mabo and Others v. Queensland (No.2), today known primarily as the Mabo decision. Various organizations and individuals are continuing to advocate and raise public awareness of native people and the legacies of invaders and colonial exploitation.

While learning this course I found the British Crown in Australia's mischaracterization and myth of the terra nullius concept. The concept can be interpreted as "land that belongs to no one", implying the philosophy that could only be extended to no-men's land that belongs to no-one without any local custom or regulation. However, one eventually comes across various details regarding the introduction of the first fleet while learning into the Native property rights. In fact, aboriginal community is well regarded to be very challenging for many communities to recognize their way of living.

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