Aboriginal-European relations in North Queensland, 1861-1897

Loos, Noel (1976) Aboriginal-European relations in North Queensland, 1861-1897. PhD thesis, James Cook University.

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Abstract

This thesis is primarily a study of Aboriginal-European relations in North Queensland from first settlement at Port Denison in 1861 till 1897 when the era of protection was ushered in by the Aboriginals Protection and the Restriction of the Sale of Opium Act.

The thesis is divided into four parts.

Part I. The prelude to European colonization.

Traditional Aboriginal society in North Queensland in all important respects formed part of an Australia-wide culture. Cultural influences from Papua had been grafted on to the existing culture without changing it fundamentally. The experience derived from Aboriginal-European relations in the rest of eastern Australia since 1788 indicated that by the time North Queensland was colonized, a stereotype of violent dispossessions had been accepted. This stereotype was complemented after pacification by complete acceptance of the ‘doomed race theory’. There had been a long history of contact with intruding navigators and explorers in North Queensland stretching back to 1606. These transitory contacts indicated the Aboriginal responses to a variety of contacts and suggested that significant acculturation could result.

Part II Frontier conflict.

The pastoral, mining, farming, and fishing industries created frontiers of contact. The nature of each industry and the environment in which it occurred provided varying challenges to and allowed differing responses from the Aborigines, such that Aboriginal resistance on the mining, farming, and fishing frontiers indicated the inadequacy of Queensland’s frontier policy which had evolved to meet the needs of rapid pastoral expansion.

Part III. Aboriginal-European relations in the pacified areas.

In the nineteenth century in the pacified areas a multi-racial society developed dominated by Europeans. Aborigines were forced to assume the role of an inferior racial caste. At the same time traditional Aboriginal society experienced dramatic social changes which resulted in a complex variety of Aboriginal life styles. However, the disease, depopulation, and degradation associated with acculturation threatened to frustrate such dynamic developments. Missions were established with some government assistance partly to meet such obvious needs but primarily to convert Aborigines to Christianity. The government became hesitantly involved with Aboriginal welfare. Food distribution centres were established on and near the Atherton Tableland at first to placate the rainforest Aborigines; however, the scheme developed in complexity. This increased government involvement plus the problems the Aboriginal survivors created in many areas for the developing colonial society prompted governmental inquiries and subsequently the 1897 protection legislation which made all Aborigines wards of the state.

Part IV. European racial thought in North Queensland.

An analysis is made of the rationalisation of and motivation for European action both on the frontier and in the pacified areas.

Item ID: 10414
Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Aboriginal-European racial relations, North Queensland history, race relations, frontier conflict, Aboriginal resistance, Indigenous resistance, European settlement, mission settlements, government protection legislation, cultural conflict, colonisation, Australian history
Date Deposited: 29 Mar 2010 01:43
FoR Codes: 21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2103 Historical Studies > 210301 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History @ 33%
21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2103 Historical Studies > 210303 Australian History (excl Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History) @ 34%
20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2002 Cultural Studies > 200209 Multicultural, Intercultural and Cross-cultural Studies @ 33%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950503 Understanding Australias Past @ 100%
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