Liam Hemsworth and others are spruiking nonsense which is also being taught to school children as they protest against ‘invasion day’:
We are spiritually and culturally connected to this country.
This country was criss-crossed by generations of brilliant Nations.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were Australia’s first explorers, first navigators, first engineers, first farmers, first botanists, first scientists, first diplomats, first astronomers and first artists.
Australia has the world’s oldest oral stories. The First Peoples engraved the world’s first maps, made the earliest paintings of ceremony and invented unique technologies. We built and engineered structures – structures on Earth – predating well-known sites such as the Egyptian Pyramids and Stonehenge.
Our adaptation and intimate knowledge of Country enabled us to endure climate change, catastrophic droughts and rising sea levels.
Always Was, Always Will Be. acknowledges that hundreds of Nations and our cultures covered this continent. All were managing the land – the biggest estate on earth – to sustainably provide for their future.
This statement is a work of poorly written fiction. All humans are descended from ancestors that roamed Africa. At some stage – perhaps 50,000 to 60,000 years ago according to archaeological records – some Homo Sapiens (so far as we know, Homo Erectus do not appear to have migrated to the land mass now know as Australia) moved to this continent during the Pleistocene (ice age) when sea levels were much lower allowing transit without seafaring. Later the ice age abated, ice melted and the Australian continent became separate and its inhabitants isolated.
In Jared Diamond’s book Guns, Germs and Steel – the Fates of Human Societies, he argues that circumstances (pressure on resources etc) lead to innovations and changes to society. On Australia he wrote
Australia is the sole continent where, in modern times, all native peoples still lived without any of the hallmarks of so-called civilization – without farming, herding, metal, bows and arrows, substantial buildings, settled villages, writing, chiefdoms or states. Instead Australian Aborigines were nomadic or semi-nomadic hunter-gatherers, organised into bands, living in temporary shelters or huts and still dependent on stone-tools.” – (p. 297).
“Compared with Native Australians, New Guineans rate as culturally “advanced”…most New Guineans …were farmers and swineherds. They lived in settled villages and were organised politically into tribes rather than as bands. All New Guineans had bows and arrows, and many used pottery.” – (p. 297-8).
“While New Guinea…developed both animal husbandry and agriculture,…Australia…developed neither.” – (p. 308).
Isolated from other populations, and lacking little in the way of resources, Australia’s first inhabitants were not pressured into changing their ways of life and remained essentially hunter gatherers and nomadic societies. I make no judgement on whether this is good or bad, merely that despite the lack of competition over resources, life wasn’t always rosy and violence and skirmishes, murder and rape occurred as much among those humans as it did elsewhere.
It was inevitable that this isolation would not persist – it is perhaps surprising that it persisted as long as it did. But contact with other humans was inevitable and the outcome of that contact would be widely varying depending on whether the contact was made by the Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, Chinese, British or others. The fact that Australia became a British colony is probably the best of the many alternatives that could have sprung from colonialisation. And we are all affected, mostly positively, by that contact – there would be few Aboriginal Australians (perhaps none) who today could say that they have no ancestry at all from settlers who arrived after 1787. We are all of mixed blood and we all descend from those original Homo Sapiens who evolved in Africa. It is time to talk about unity rather than division.
As for claims that pre 1788 Aboriginals were explorers, navigators, engineers, farmers, botanists, scientists, diplomats, astronomers and artists that’s just baloney. There are no engineering structures in the archaeological record, and they were no more navigators and explorers than the myriad of early Homo Sapiens that migrated out of Africa.
In truth their life was simple, with the daily struggle to maintain shelter, clothing, food and water. They were not a civilisation, let along multiple civilisations because they did not have advanced political and economic structures that comprise a civilisation. And the phrase ‘Always Was, Always Will Be’ is total bullshit. The earliest Homo Sapiens are around 200,000 years ago, and it is presumptive indeed to assert that any species will live forever. We already know that the Earth will not exist forever.
The indulgence of these ridiculous claims is putting a brake on the improvement of remote Aboriginal Australian settlements and condemning many to poor living standards and a short life expectancy. It is similar to the excellent piece by Paul Monk on Adi Schwartz and Einat Wilf’s book The War of Return: How Western Indulgence of the Palestinian Dream Has Obstructed the Path to Peace. This is similar – the indulgence of fantasy claims hinders reconciliation, peace and mutual prosperity. Instead people like Hemsworth want to bask in their moral superiority and dance on the future of poor Aboriginal Australians by seeing them as a form of living museum. It is an absolute disgrace.
Happy Australia Day
Global sea levels during the last Ice Age