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By Ann McGrath

'Both indigenous and non-indigenous Australians have much to profit approximately one another earlier than reconciliation among the 2 peoples could be realised. This booklet will move some distance in the direction of attaining that end.' Paul Behrendt

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Extra info for Contested Ground: Australian Aborigines under the British Crown

Sample text

Although a small cash wage was introduced after the 1940s, many Aboriginal people in Queensland, the Northern Territory, New South Wales and Western Australia54 were never paid their due wages and their lifetime earnings were returned to consolidated revenue. In the 1930s the Northern Territory (excluding Central Australia) account was balanced at 3000 pounds but little attempt was made to distribute it to its rightful owners. 57 The Northern Territory Chief Protector had set up the Aboriginal Medical Benefits Fund to urge employers to take responsibility for work accidents and employees’ health.

In New Zealand, the categories Maori and Pakeha are in popular usage. In the Australian case, the hundreds of Aboriginal dialects make a common term problematic. In the Kimberleys it is ‘gadia’. In Arnhem Land the whites are called ‘balanda’, a Dutch derived word adopted from the Macassarese. Most of the history contained in this book is not claiming to be ‘Aboriginal history’, that is, to tell the story from an Aboriginal perspective. It is predominantly written by members of the colonising class and it is about the relations between two peoples entwined in the process of colonialism.

Forced relocation and dispossession continued during the decades which followed. 2 Some areas have been more effectively colonised than others, and it is in the less populated regions such as the Kimberley, the Pilbara and Kakadu where Aboriginal traditional ties with the land are strongest. The success of colonialism therefore became a direct gauge of Aboriginal dislocation. First meetings between old and new residents were coloured by the forces and languages of imperialism and colonialism, although these encounters were sometimes the most open-hearted and hopeful moments of all: times of potential diplomacy before the use of capture or force.

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