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News From South Australia

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Joe Bloe

Joe Bloe

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Negotiating a treaty between the state of South Australia and local Indigenous people is "unfinished business" originally instructed by British king William IV, an academic says.


Daryle Rigney, the head of Indigenous strategy and engagement at Flinders University, said directions from the king (who reigned from 1830 to 1837, preceding Queen Victoria) about how SA should be established included "clear instructions there should be treaties and bargains entered into".





Things may not be as clear cut as Daryle Rigney implies.


In the first place, South Australia wasn't a British Colony in those early days. It began as a private business (The South Australian Company) and didn't become a colony until the Company got into financial difficulties many years after King William IV had died.


I do remember from my school history lessons that the South Australian Company did have a list of rules about treatment of the aboriginals but it was purely cosmetic and the rules always favoured the invaders; not the original occupants of the land.


For example the South Australian Company promised that they would not take over any land already occupied by aboriginals; all built up areas would remain untouched by the new settlers.


Then, when the new settlers arrived they looked towards the horizon ... no roadways, no bridges, no farms, no fences, no cities, no towns, no villages, no obvious signs of settlements at all; just a few bark huts inhabited by a few nomads who would probably move on in a day or two. Clearly the land was uninhabited - and so it was immediately taken over by the South Australian Company.

Believe nothing you hear and only half what you see.

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