History This historical timeline represents a snapshot of the history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (atsi) people, showing the impact of European settlement. 40 000 years ago



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History


This historical timeline represents a snapshot of the history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) people, showing the impact of European settlement.


40 000 years ago


Aboriginal people have lived in Australia for more than 1200 human generations, compared with eight generations since European settlement. Lake Mungo in New South Wales is a site that is well known for human fossils and artefacts that record Aboriginal occupation of the area from about 40 000 years ago. Concentrations of animal bones are evidence of hunting and fishing. Flake tools and sandstone grinders show that these people made tools to help with their hunting and gathering lifestyle.

Reference


Government of South Australia 2006, Atlas of South Australia, viewed 20 March 2006, .

30 000 years ago


A number of sites in the south-western region of Australia show evidence of hunter-gatherer people occupying the forests. Caves such as Devil’s Lair have sandy floors that show layers of remains and artefacts, including hearths and stone tools.

Reference


Government of South Australia 2006, Atlas of South Australia, viewed 20 March 2006, .

12 000 years ago


Excavations at Wyrie Swamp in south-eastern South Australia have revealed tools used by the local Aboriginal people, including boomerangs, spears, throwing sticks, stone knives and scrapers. The wood used to make these tools is the coastal sheoak and is so well preserved that the marks made by stone tools in their manufacture are still visible.

Reference


Australia, Department of the Environment and Heritage, Australian National Botanic Gardens 2003, Aboriginal trail, viewed 20 March 2006, .

3000 years ago


Dugout canoes were being used in coastal areas. Evidence of this has been found along the northern coast of Australia.

Reference


Australia, National Oceans Office 2003, Saltwater country Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander interest in ocean policy development and implementation, viewed 20 March 2006, .



1606


Luis Vaez de Torres, a Portuguese seaman, was the first European to sail and name the strait separating Papua New Guinea from Australia.

In June 1606, Torres set sail, intending to follow a northerly route around Papua New Guinea. He went south instead, through the waters that now bear his name, discovering that Papua New Guinea was separated from the mainland of Australia. Scottish geographer Alexander Dalrymple read Torres’s account in 1769, more than 150 years after the Portuguese sailor had sailed the strait, and named the waters after him.


Reference


Naming Australia Incorporated 2006, Luis Vaez de Torres, viewed 20 March 2006, .

1642 – 1644


Abel Tasman was commissioned by Anthony van Diemen, Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies, to explore the south seas. He named the island that we now know as Tasmania, Van Diemen’s Land. In a second voyage in 1644, he sailed the north coast of Australia from Cape York to North West Cape, completing a circumnavigation of Australia, known at that time as New Holland.

Reference


Project Gutenberg of Australia 2005, Abel Janszoon Tasman (c. 1603-1659), viewed 20 March, 2006, .

1688


William Dampier landed on the north-west coast of Australia. Australia was still known as New Holland and Dampier was the first English explorer to suggest that the British should further explore the land of New Holland.

Reference


New South Wales Country Areas Program 2006, Who was first?, viewed 20 March 2006, .

1770


Captain James Cook sailed up the eastern coast of Australia, mapping from Point Hicks to the tip of Cape York. On August 20 1770, standing on the highest point of Possession Island in the Torres Strait, he took possession of the whole Eastern Coast for Britain, under the doctrine of ‘terra nullius’, meaning ‘empty land’ or ‘no man’s land’. This act was probably meant to warn off the French and the Dutch, but it signalled the dispossession of the Aboriginal people, the British acting as if Australia was uninhabited.

Reference





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