Talk:History of Indigenous Australians

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Before British arrival[edit]

I'm delighted to see such a comprehensive and detailed discussion of the fact that Aboriginal peoples were not "unchanging Stone-age peoples", as is still taught in many public schools in Australia. The information on eel-farming and burning/landscape management is excellent. I would like to add information on pre-colonial water management and on archaeological evidence for large settlements using hearths and longhouses in (I think) Victoria, which I learned about from an Aboriginal lecturer at the University of Queensland. I have citations for the water management, and am tracking down the citations for the hearths and longhouses. Drvestone (talk) 17:11, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

I added the latest citation for the population figures, which said "citation needed" previously. I can add citations on eel-farming and burning when I add information on water management. I am trying to go through here and wherever it says "citation needed" add any appropriate citations I know of. Drvestone (talk) 18:09, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

I have removed the para about tribal warfare 'massacres' and allegations of a pre-existing 'pygmy' race in Australia that was allegedly exterminated by ancestors of modern Aborigines. While there is abundant cultural evidence of long term low-level tribal warfare consistent with other hunter gatherer societies, there is neither archeological nor oral history evidence for large scale massacres prior to the arrival of Europeans. The notion that there was ever a pygmy race in Australia is one held by a tiny group of right wing historians and is not backed by archeological, linguistic or genetic evidence - which would be inexplicable were they to have been as widely distributed as Windschuttle and Gillan claimed. The oldest human skeletal remains found in Australia, Mungo Man were of an individual who was 193cm tall. No skeletal remains consistent with an extinct pygmy race have ever been found. Even if there was ever such a race, there is furthermore no evidence as to why they disappeared. Indeed, the very weak photographic and colonial anthropological evidence cited by Windschuttle and Gillan suggests that if they have been exterminated it was during the period of European colonisation. (talk) 14:41, 13 October 2008 (UTC)


The claims of cannibalism in Queensland are debated,and I think the consensus is not that cannibalism took place, and that this may be a colonial construction to paint Aboriginal people as "depraved savages". In resource-rich Queensland, with plenty of other sources of protein and other foods, there is little ecological reason to suppose that cannibalism would have made sense, in contrast to some Pacific Island cultures. The most recent scholarly work, R. Evans (2007), A History of Queensland, (Cambridge U Press) makes no mention of cannibalism in the work on prehistory, nor does he cite Roth. Drvestone (talk) 17:23, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

World War II history[edit]

In tropical north Australia, Aboriginal men were specifically recruited as soldiers by the Australian government, because they knew their lands best, and were best suited to spot invaders. (Though they were a bit bemused by white invaders asking them to keep out other invaders.) They also were much better than white soldiers at surviving and thriving in these remote tropical environments. OK if I add a sentence or two with some historical information about this, including citations? Drvestone (talk) 17:30, 23 January 2008 (UTC)


update needed: The quoted reference to Dortch and Hesp appears to be superseded by Hesp, P.A., Murray-Wallace, .V., Dortch, C.E., 1999. Aboriginal occupation on Rottnest Island, Western Australia, provisionally dated by Aspartic Acid Racemization assay of land snails to greater than 50,000 yr B.P. Australian Archaeology 49, 7–12. which claims only "greater than" 50ky BP with the qualification provisional. I suggest the Rottnest date should be omitted entirely if the original claim has been retracted and the later claim is only provisional. Qemist (talk) 03:21, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

Megafaunal Extinctions[edit]

The comment in 'Long History in Australia' that the Aborigines were responsible for megafaunal extictions via firestick farming states 'The Future Eaters' by Tim Flannery for evidence. Flannery makes no such claim. He states that he believes the hypothesis unlikely and firmly supports the the overkill or Blitzkrieg hypothesis instead. The reference or information presented needs to be changed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:08, 14 October 2008 (UTC)


For the sake of hygiene a comment on this article being classed as "outdated."

It is common practice for inconvenient opinions to be rubbished as not conforming to supposedly objective criteria of good scholarship. One example is the way neoliberal economists working for Capital attack left-wing economists; another is the attack by US neoconservative Israel supporters on pro-Palestinian writers such as N. Finkelstein.

In the present case, Wiki readers are supposed to believe that this article is "outdated". The allegation however is seemingly aimed at banning all use of white eyewitness accounts of Aborigines in the period 1788 -ca 1990,if those accounts do not suit the current political agenda of Australian indigenising nationalists. The underlying falsehood is that history and politics are like natural science ie that there is objective progress,so that eyewitness accounts of eg Aboriginal infanticide are allegedly "outdated" in the way that the Physics or Chemistry of 1850 is outdated. On the contrary, primary sources in history are always more valuable than secondary ones. Jacques Roux (talk) 08:38, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

Problems with this article[edit]

While this article contains some good material, it suffers from poor organisation, lack of a neutral point of view, and insufficient citations. Parts of it read like an undergraduate essay. I wish I had time to fix it at the moment, but I would suggest that the sections titled The Long History in Australia and Before British Arrival be rewritten and reorganised. Probably a division into Pleistocene and Holocene eras would be the most logical way to arrange the material. Much of it needs citations and as mentioned needs to be put into more neutral language. (eg Statements like "Clearly, the Aboriginal people of Australia were not "people of an unchanging stone age" as they have been so often portrayed by European colonists, but inventive and creative individuals living within cultures that over the millennia had become finely attuned to the rhythms and changes of the "droughts and flooding rains" that characterise the Australian environment.". However true this may be it needs to be expressed differently using citations, rather than as a conclusion of the preceding statements. If appropriate citations cannot be found it should be removed.) The material in the Origins section is in conflict with overlapping topics on Wikipedia and should better reflect the consensus view of archaelogists. It also appears to reflect certain strands of Australian archaeology in the 1990s and needs to draw on more recent material. I'll come back when I've got some more time and see if I can't improve it, or hopefully someone industrious will have taken up the challenge. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:26, 21 January 2010 (UTC)

I agree with you this article reads badly and lacks a lot of relevant information. It hardly touches on the fact that we now believe that the aboriginals were more of an agrarian society and not predominantly hunter gathers. The article suggests the opposite. It should really be cleaned up and have another section added discussing the theory's surrounding aboriginal farming, permanent settlement, architecture etc. There are multiple books written on the topic and plenty of references to it in the original writings of explorers and early Europeans to inhabit the country. It’s simply been suppressed. I would suggest a re-wording of the entire article and adding this information. A good book to read for more information is: Dark Emu - Black seeds: agriculture or accident? I would offer to re-write the article but I do not have the time at the moment. Wonx2150 (talk) 09:20, 16 January 2015 (UTC)


how do you fix ref 27 (to the episode of Message Stick called "Lest We Forget")? Even though the address "" is correctly entered in the section, on the actual page the link goes to "" which goes to a 404. (talk) 15:37, 8 February 2010 (UTC)

An incorrect argument name was being used, so the link was being treated as an internal wikilink instead of an external URL. It's now fixed. -- Avenue (talk) 23:39, 4 March 2010 (UTC)


The reference given for the warfare statistics ( Anthropological Quarterly) is dead, I have added a citation needed tag. Considering how little evidence there is that Indigenous Australia had a system of warfare at all, I'd be very interested in seeing this cite. Hexyhex (talk) 11:10, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

Oops, should have been a dead link tag. Fixing now! Hexyhex (talk) 11:18, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

1 to 5 billion people in Australia?[edit]

You sure about that? fwiw That content was added here. SlightSmile 19:53, 21 September 2012 (UTC)

It's referenced? Why did you remove it?Oranjblud (talk) 14:19, 24 September 2012 (UTC)

I've long heard that the world population reached 1 billion only in 1804. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Nemoscis (talkcontribs) 11:14, 4 October 2016 (UTC)

That would be the population at any given point. The figure in the billions refers to the cumulative population, i.e. every person who has ever lived (in Australia, in this case). TompaDompa (talk) 16:41, 4 October 2016 (UTC)

Number of indigenous deaths at the hands of white people[edit]

In the 'impact of brittish settlement: 1788-1900' section, it is written: "The number of violent deaths at the hands of white people is still the subject of debate, with a figure of around 10 000 - 20 000 deaths being advanced by historians such as Henry Reynolds."

I have added a sort of 'disclaimer' to this sentence, relating to scholarly concerns (referenced) regarding the methodology behind figures such as these:

"However the methodology behind figures such as this one has been criticized due to the fact that only white deaths were documented in frontier conflicts, forcing historians to estimate a country-wide white-black death ratio and infer from this the number of Indigenous deaths".


Mungo Man[edit]

Mungo man is mentioned in this article (it is relevant) but it has been proven LM3 is not related to Indigenous Australians. This should be made clear in the article, as it is misleading. Cerumol2 (talk) 23:22, 5 February 2013 (UTC)

about extinctions[edit]

Some articles in wiki says firmly that this or that species was killed by human with the exact timeline, as soon as humans went in Australia. Time like 46.000 years ago or so, ah the sudden extinction of diprodon and the like... now in this article we see that humans could have been also there at 50,000, 60,000 70,000 or even 200,000 years ago. LOL, so what is the credibility of the human 'blitzkrieg' then? see the diprodon article and thell me if it is compatible with the timeline here! no way. someone could fix this instead of those nonsense? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:23, 6 June 2015 (UTC)


There's a fair slab of this article that doesn't deal with history at all. History being a recorded narrative of events. --Pete (talk) 06:45, 17 August 2015 (UTC)

If you read the word very strictly, you are correct. (In general usage, at least in the USA, "history" can be loosely used to mean "things that happened in the past", but of course for an encyclopedia being stricter is likely the correct course.)
Maybe create a separate article "Prehistory of Australia" and put the prehistoric bits of this article in there?
IAmNitpicking (talk) 13:23, 17 October 2016 (UTC)

Word choice ... Mongolian army?[edit]

The article says, "Each day the women of the horde went into successive parts of one countryside, with wooden digging sticks and plaited dilly bags or wooden coolamons ..."

"Horde" is Mongolian for "army". I doubt the Australian indigenes were also Mongolian. Is this a term of art I don't know from anthropology, or just a weird word choice? I also don't know what "parts of one countryside" means. IAmNitpicking (talk) 19:13, 28 August 2015 (UTC)

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