Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

How Aborigines were cheated out of their land in Victoria

The most important outcome of this event was that Batman became the first and possibly the only early Anglo-Australian to formally recognise the indigenous Aboriginal population as property owners.

On this day: annulment of the Batman treaty AUSTRALIAN GEOGRAPHIC 27 Aug 12 IN 2012, MOST MELBOURNIANS would be confused if you offered them a handful of tomahawks, a few handkerchiefs, some blankets and some scissors for their land. One hundred and seventy-seven years ago in the rough-shod days of early Australian settlement, however, they
represented a princely sum. And that is exactly what settler John Batman used for currency to acquire the 250,000ha on which Melbourne and Geelong sit.

Upon his arrival in Port Phillip, grazier and businessman John Batman
met the chiefs of the Dutigall people on behalf of his settler
committee, the Port Phillip Association. Believing it to be the ideal
place for a new settlement, Batman negotiated the purchase of the land
with eight indigenous chiefs, in exchange for 20 blankets, 30
tomahawks, 100 knives, 30 mirrors, 200 handkerchiefs, 100 pounds of
flour and six shirts.

Crown repeals Batman’s treaty and claim to Melbourne

The most important outcome of this event was that Batman became the first and possibly the only early Anglo-Australian to formally recognise the indigenous Aboriginal population as property owners.

He then submitted the agreement to the state through
Lieutenant-Governor George Arthur. In June 1935 he received a
long-winded response which, in essence, denied his ownership of the
land because he had negotiated with an indigenous tribe.

On 26 August the Governor of New South Wales, Richard Bourke, annulled
the agreement and issued a proclamation that all private property
agreements with the native population would be “void as against the
rights of the Crown,” as negotiating for land with indigenous
Australians could only legally be recognised if it was the Crown
itself that purchased the property.
Modern day repercussions of the Batman treaty’s repeal

In many ways, neglecting to recognise the agreement and indigenous
land ownership set a precedent that is only being patched-up now. The
treaty’s abandonment “did have a cascading effect for the law’s
interface with indigenous people,” says Dr Thalia Anthony, senior law
lecturer on Aboriginal and Indigenous issues at University of
Technology Sydney. “It [reflected] the Anglo-Australian government’s
prevailing interest in Crown title and its dismissal of competing
claims.”

Another point of historical contention is whether Batman fabricated
the agreement to acquire the land or whether the signing actually took
place, which remains unclear. However, either scenario would have
created the friction over native title that has reverberated
throughout Melbourne’s history. ….
http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/journal/batman-treaty-melbourne-aboriginal.htm

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August 27, 2012 - Posted by | aboriginal issues, history, reference, Victoria

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