How Does Terra Nullius Affect Australian Identity

Improved Essays
When Australia was first founded, the constitution for the commonwealth was drafted in the spirit of “Terra Nullius”. The Latin term “Terra Nullius” translates to ‘land that belongs to no-one’ , meaning that the British settlers who came to Australia acted as if the Aboriginal people were not even there. These settlers fought and took the land from the Indigenous people of Australia. The idea and myth of terra nullius has had a large impact on Australian identity. Mainly it was to instill a sense of white ownership of Australia as a part of Australian identity. Though, to do such required a systematic oppression of the Indigenous Australians by denying them citizenship for many years, ignoring how their land was taken from them during colonization, and overshadowing their involvement in Australian military. Today, there are many examples of Aboriginal imagery all around. There are indigenous themes on advertisements, souvenirs, and even airlines decorate their planes in them. There are numerous Aboriginal arts and culture celebrations that take place all throughout the year. No matter which Australian state you are in, there are bound to be festivals or celebrations of …show more content…
It helped denied them citizenship and recognition as Australian citizens for many years. It instilled an idea of ‘white ownership’ of Australia as a part of Australian identity. Even though much has been done recently to amend this, it cannot take back the impact the myth had on Australian identity. There may be celebrations of Aboriginal heritage, culture, etc. but the damage has been done. The indigenous people of Australia had their identities kept from being a part of Australia’s history. They were kept from being part of celebrated legend in Anzac or other military events. Terra nullius denied these people their voice in Australian identity for many years, instead only focusing on the voice of the white

Related Documents

  • Superior Essays

    Australia is a country that has been described as diverse, multicultural and unique. Our geography, flora and fauna and cultural history is different from anywhere else, which has definitely captured the attention of the rest of the world. Australian society has evolved in a very short space of time from the earliest convict settlements established in the mid nineteenth century, to the cosmopolitan states that currently exist and draw immigrants from all continents across the globe. Australia’s history has reflected conflict, human rights violations and the hardship associated with establishing a refined society in a harsh and primitive landscape. Throughout the various stages of Australian history, Australians have attempted to grab onto an…

    • 1383 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Great Essays

    From the onset of the invasion of Australia in 1788, supported by the claim that Australia was uninhabited land, ‘Terra Nullius’, a ripple effect of disadvantage began which resulted in intergenerational discrepancies in the educational outcomes of Indigenous Australians. However, the unequal outcomes of Indigenous Australians were, and often still are, attributed to the belief of Indigenous Australians’ inherent inequality to Whites. This is despite the fact that the systems established in post-invasion Australia perpetuated this very inequality through structural and institutionalised racism. The views of race and racial hierarchy which sanctioned these systems continue to linger on and pervade areas of society today, albeit often in a more…

    • 1010 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Discrimination is also marked among the Aboriginal people themselves. According to Richard Frank, a director to Aboriginal people, Some Aboriginal people have light colored skin while others have dark colored skin. The difference in the skin color among the indigenous Austrian people leads to lateral violence amongst themselves with the light colored Aboriginal discriminating the dark colored Aboriginal people. This is an issue that is currently common among the Aboriginal people. When the British arrived in Australia in 1788 and announced the land as their own under the terra nullius rule, the immediate impact of it on the locals was a cancellation of their rights and citizenship.…

    • 127 Words
    • 1 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The Mabo Decision

    • 884 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Outline the importance of the Mabo Decision, Native Title Act and Wik Judgement for the Land Rights movement (5 marks)
The Land Rights movement aimed to lead Aboriginal people towards regaining access and ownership to their sacred sites and traditional lands that were lost by European settlement. This movement was instigated by Charles Perkins through his Freedom Ride in 1965 and Vincent Lingiari, the elder of the Gurindji people, who promoted the Wave Hill Strike in 1966. In 1992, Eddie Mabo, on behalf of the Murray Island people, successfully overturned the concept of ‘terra nullius’ in the High Court as they ruled that Australia was occupied at the time of British settlement. In due course, this decision led to the creation of the Native…

    • 884 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The political and legal system in Australia has provided both advances and setbacks for the Indigenous Australians. There have been many setbacks for Aboriginal people in their fight for equal legal and political rights like the legislation 's, constitution, voting rights and parliamentary laws. They have also had some gradual advances from the amendments to the electoral act, the 1967 referendum and Prime Minister Whitlams actions to give land back. Early on in Australia 's history Indigenous people had many setbacks in their political and legal rights. The Stolen Generation was a big setback for Aboriginal people.…

    • 1120 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Explain how the Freedom Rides in the U.S. impacted upon the rights and freedoms of Aboriginal peoples in Australia. The 1960’s was a time of change in social and political dynamics in the US and Australia. It was the time when Australia introduced new government policies towards indigenous and non-indigenous Australians. However, these government policies ironically caused widespread discontent which provoked a protest by a group of activists, riding inter-state buses to towns that were strong in segregation and racial intolerance.…

    • 1223 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    As Australians we are proud of our culture we deem fair and just. Yet we often forget the prosperity of Australia was in great part the result of dispossessing the Aboriginal people of their lands. The Aboriginals lived peacefully, their culture and society sacred and complex. The land, a fundamental component of their spirituality and identity. However with the arrival of the British, Australia was declared Terra Nullius, a land that belonged to no one.…

    • 739 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The struggle for land rights that occurred over 213 years ago has made a mark in history as one of the most racial inequality events of all time and Indigenous Australians have continued to fight for their land ever since. The first Aboriginal political organisation was formed in the 1920’s. Two of the most well known aboriginal organisations would be the Australian Aborigines League (AAL) and the Aborigines ' Progressive Association (APA). These organisations played a massive role in the movement for Indigenous Australian rights. As many of these Indigenous Australians fought for what they believed was fair this caused multiple different problems for them whether they were bashed, taken from their homes and discriminated everywhere they went.…

    • 1058 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Mabo Decsion Case Study

    • 145 Words
    • 1 Pages

    The Mabo decsion is a legal case that was held in 1992.The legal decision was made in the high court 3rd June 1992. It was named after Eddi Mabo he challenged the Australian legal system anf fought for the rightd and recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of their land. Eddi Mabo was a Torres Strait Islander who believed the Australian laws on land and ownership were wrong and he fought to change them. The result of the case ran for 10 years.…

    • 145 Words
    • 1 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Improved Essays

    This essay examines at how Indigenous teens are currently being marginalised, oppressed and stereotyped in Australia today. It will also explore how western and Aboriginal culture influences, affects and shapes young indigenous youth. Examples from the movie ‘Yolngu Boy’ and the documentary ‘Black Chicks Talking’ will demonstrates stereotypes, personal opinions from those affected and the way Indigenous youth and the dominant white culture are interdependent to one another. One way Aboriginal Australians have been marginalised and influenced is the forced assimilation into white culture.…

    • 768 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Australian indigenous people lived on this land for up to 60,000 years before Europe discovered the country and claimed settlement. The ingenious people lived their own lives, spoke their own language and had their own lifestyle. They believed they belonged to the land. They lived semi nomadic lifestyles traveling seasonally letting their previous land to re-flourish. This all changed in 1788 when the British claimed settlement.…

    • 1042 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Great Essays

    "Given the history of the European colonisation of Australia, many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are wary of white institutions and social welfare’ (Chenoweth & McAuliffe 2015, p.268). Identify and discuss one or two policies or pieces of legislation that have impacted on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and how the effects can be seen today. During the European colonisation of Australia, oppressive laws functioned to subjugate and control the indigenous population. The Aborigines Protection Act, 1909 (APA) (Cth) and the child removal policy were particularly devastating, stripping Indigenous people of basic human rights and freedoms, and robbing generations of their connection to their families and culture. Although the Act was abolished in 1969, the trauma…

    • 1586 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Superior Essays

    John Locke Terra Nullius

    • 2242 Words
    • 9 Pages

    The legal concept of terra nullius is a Latin expression deriving from Roman law, meaning "nobody's land". It is used in law to define a region which has not been subject to the sovereignty of any state, or any previous sovereign has relinquished power. Sovereignty over territory which is considered a terra nullius may usually be acquired through colonisation. However, historians also to use the term to showcase a set of opinions prevalent in colonial administrators. While the concept is not used openly in Governor Richard Bourke’s 1835 proclamation, the idea which was an international reason for justifying colonisation, was an underlying mentality towards its creation.…

    • 2242 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Kevin Parlato Global Context William Strutt Painting “Black Thursday” Australia has a unique but dark past when it comes to its colonial history. Remnants of this past still linger as significant problems for the modern era.…

    • 1185 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Sally Morgan’s My Place is an autobiographical book published in 1987 detailing the discovery of her aboriginal identity and descent. The book gained worldwide success upon its publication and Morgan has established herself as a voice for the indigenous Australians though My Place. It successfully shifts the focus of the history of Australia from being solely about ‘the white man’ and also brings in a place for the aboriginals. In Australia the term ‘aboriginal’ refers to their indigenous population who existed in Australia prior to European colonization.…

    • 1121 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays