James Cook Essay Alice Holder James Cook Essay Alice Holder In 1788, the Europeans invaded Australia after the First Fleet of British ships landed in Botany Bay on the 18th of January, but then docked in Port Jackson, which we know as Sydney, New South Wales. At the time, there were Over 750000 Aboriginal people in Australia. Lieutenant James Cook had declared Australia to be terra nullius (no one’s land) in 1770 after which the colonists agreed together that they could make the land their own. Cook believed that the Aboriginals lived well.
They had everything they needed in that time, and were in his view to be healthier and happier than most Europeans. Cook’s opinion can be considered valid because in 1788 the indigenous people had very complex social structures, and communication was a strong part of their lives. There were various different tribes or group gatherings around this period of time, and the Aboriginals loved to get together to talk and see each other, whether they were talking about their day, their problems, or anything. They had many different groups of people to talk to, or refer back to, and most of these relationships were fairly strong.
A few of these groups were kinships, religious groups, nations, and moiety and physical structures. Family is a very strong aspect in the aboriginal culture. Most of the time they had extended families and the eldest few in the family took on major roles in looking after the family and helping out. Communication and gatherings were taken for granted in the families, except the mother-in-law rule, which is when you cannot speak directly to your mother in law. This rule applies to both men and women, and if communication was necessary, then they would talk via third person, but never make one on one communication with the person.
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This is an example of Cook believing that the aboriginals were rich in friendship, family and communication, because they had so many different tribes to refer back to, and are great at communication and getting involved with other people and groups. In this time of life, there wasn’t the local shop to go and buy your food and basic needs. There wasn’t a dance school nearby to learn the latest moves. There wasn’t spearing classes to learn how to fight for your food, everyone had to learn everything by themselves, or learn off each other.
The Aboriginal culture was very fortunate in having the skill to get what they want, wether that was fighting for food, making weapons, etc. They kept warm by sleeping or just sitting in between two small fires, and they also had dingos, which is a camping dog which they slept next to keep warm. They developed spearing skills because that was the only way they could get food to live off. They were never sick and just seemed to make the most of what they had, and never had bad thoughts about what they had, because they knew they had the best, and all they needed to survive; and they were wealthier than the average European.
In summary, Cook’s view that aboriginals were not savages is most certainly correct. They had everything they needed to live a long and happy life compared to the Europeans. Many people did not believe this, and had a clear stereotype of the Aboriginal culture in their head, but this was wrong. Traditional Life, Housing, (date unknown), Aboriginal Culture, [web page], <http://www. aboriginalculture. com. au/housing. shtml>, [accessed 8th May 2012]
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