Timeline of Trauma and Healing in Australia

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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children have been taken from their families since the start of colonisation in Australia.

 

Children were kidnapped, taken for labour and removed from their families through government policies of the day. 

 

This timeline looks at some of the events, trauma and healing that’s taken place in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities over the last two and a half centuries.

 

The dates in this timeline are a selection representing the breadth of events that have occurred. This is not intended to be a complete list.

 

Cool Timeline

60,000BC

60,000BC

Archaeological evidence suggests that a rock shelter was used by people at a site in Arnhem Land, the earliest evidence of Aboriginal civilisation.

42,000BC

42,000BC

Mungo Man was buried in a shallow grave.

1770

1770

Captain James Cook declares possession of the east coast.

The British Government does not recognise the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their special connection with the land. They claim the land terra nullius – belonging to nobody.

1788

1788

The First Fleet arrives and builds a settlement at Port Jackson in Sydney.

1789

1789

Small pox decimates the Aboriginal population of Botany Bay, Port Jackson and Broken Bay, spreading inland and along the coast.

1794

1794

Colonists begin farming on the Hawkesbury and Aboriginal people are disposed from their lands.

1799

1799

Frontier Wars begin in Parramatta and Hawkesbury regions.

1814

1814

Governor Macquarie opens a school for Aboriginal children in Parramatta.

1830

1830

The beginning of the Black Wars in Tasmania.

1834

1834

Battle of Pinjarra, on the Murray River in Western Australia, accounts suggest that an entire clan is decimated.

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