History: Myall Massacre Conflict

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This essay will inquire into the frontier struggle between Europeans Settlers and Indigenous Australians that cover until 1901. The conflict between Europeans and Aboriginals began after 1788 when the European settlers first arrived in Australia. 20000 Aboriginals were killed during the fighting on the frontier in the 19th century. The major three things happened during this conflict are the European’s misunderstanding and unfair treatment towards Aboriginals, Aboriginals defended against European’s attacks and the Myall Massacre that was described as the pivotal conflict in the struggle between Aboriginal people and Europeans.

From the moment Europeans first arrived in Australia it was clear that they viewed themselves as being superior to the Indigenous population.

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The Aboriginal way of life that the first European encountered is a dim and prejudice view. From the extract taken from the diary of an officer in the First Fleet, Watkin Tench: ‘It does not appear that these poor creatures have any fixed Habitation… We met with some that seemed entirely deserted indeed it seems pretty evident that their Habitation, whether Caverns or Wigwams, are common to all, and Alternatively inhabited by different Tribes’. This evidence shows Europeans did not understand and respect how Aboriginal people live and manage the land. As the way Europeans see the ownership differently compared with Aboriginals, Europeans settler believed that it was legal to occupy Australia, even though Aboriginal lived here first, they claimed ‘terra nullius’ means nobody’s land. European’s misconception about Aboriginal people leads to the unequal treatment toward Aboriginals. From Aboriginal Life in Australian in the Pictorial, the cartoon showed two pictures: Two Aboriginal people are hunting sheep using spears, another picture presented two white men shooting guns at Aboriginals. These cartoons explain how the Europeans’ point of view to Aboriginals, they treated Aboriginals like animals. They thought Aboriginals were wild and barbaric, since they did not see Aboriginals as human and they thought Aboriginals needed help.

Their discrimination against Aboriginals was because they regarded Aboriginals as inferior.

Even though Aboriginal people may have lacked the guns and manpower that the Europeans had at their disposal, they still had the courage to resist their attacks. Europeans’ colonization brings diseases and millions of death, in some areas, thousands yearsof  development of Aboriginal culture, lifestyle was wiped out along with the sharp decline of the Aboriginal population. Europeans always believe they own the land, to Aboriginal people, however, this was their land. An Aboriginal people who From Yogan who is a Aboriginal warrior’s, his word have been translated: ‘You came to our country—you have driven us from our haunts, and disturbed us in our occupations. As we walk in our own country, we are fired upon by the white men, why should the white men treat us so?’ Exact from Perth Gazette and Western Australian Journal 1 June 1833, 87. To show the ownership, Aboriginal people took the courage to defend themselves against Europeans. Under cover of darkness, Aboriginals used guerrilla tactics which is surprise attack and spearing their live stock, destroying their fencing.

A pivotal conflict in the struggle between the European settlers and the Indigenous population was the Myall Massacre. The Myall creek Massacre happened at the Myall creek Station in NSW, 10th of June, 1838. John Fleming leaded 11 white man murdered Indigenous Australians from Wirrayaraay tribe, 28 innocent Indigenous people been killed including elderly, woman and children. The 11 men were arrested and were put on trail in Sydney, but were let off as there were no evidence.7 of the 11 men were put on second trail and they were convicted by their crimes in November 1838. This event heightened the tension of racial in the colony and in discussion about that for the murder of Aboriginals whether Europeans should be hanged. Further more, The Australian newspaper wrote that ‘the interests of humanity, the character of the colony and the honour of the British are outraged… whoever be the perpetrator, the murder is most foul and unnatural.’

Myall Massacre is one of significant conflict in the struggle between the European settlers and Aboriginals, not just because the numbers of death it cause, but the first time that Europeans who massacre black population have been punished by law publicly.  

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