Captain James Cook discovered Australia Free essay! Download now
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Captain James Cook discovered Australia
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| Words: 1120 | Submitted: 31-Aug-2012
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Subject: Effective Writing
Topic: “Captain James Cook discovered Australia”. Discuss
They came in to the little town
A semi-naked band subdued and silent,
All that remained of their tribe.
They came here to the place of their old bora ground
Where now the many white men hurry about like ants.
Notice of estate agent reads: 'Rubbish May be Tipped Here.'
Now it half covers the traces of the old bora ring.
They sit and are confused, they cannot say their thoughts:
'We are as strangers here now, but the white tribe are the strangers.'
(from 'We are Going', Noonuccal 193).
This passage from the poem We are Going (by Oodgeroo Noonuccal) gives an illustration of how the Aborigines would have felt with the invasion by Europeans, of the land which they occupied for 1000s of years. The arrival of the Europeans 'created a confrontation between two societies with radically different ways of living' (Berzins 19). The two cultures disagreed or had misunderstandings because they held different concepts and ideas about life, particularly about the land. The Europeans considered Australia to be 'terra nullius' or unoccupied land, despite encountering the natives. Explorers saw no fences or borders which in their culture would symbolise some sort of ownership over the earth, therefore they regarded Australia to be land for the taking. However, Aborigines believed that the land itself was communal property and that a large piece of country should not belong to any individual - the land belonged to the whole tribe (Ward 13). Yet no endeavour was made by Europeans to "understand or accommodate Aboriginal value systems" (Nile 49). Moreover, while the Aborigines were presumably the first to occupy Australia, they received little acknowledgment for their find or connection with the land. Captain James Cook on the other hand, receives much acclaim for discovering 'The Great South Land', although Aborigines, Asians and other European explorers stumbled upon it before him. However, one cannot disregard the fact that Cook's was a 'discovery' and quite an important one at that, for he literally put Australia on the map. Yet the term 'discovered' or 'discovery' according to the Macquarie Dictionary, refers to acquiring knowledge of, learning of or finding out, for the first time. Therefore, Cook did not 'discover' Australia in the true sense of the word, but rather he uncovered and revealed the potential of 'The Great South Land' to the rest of the world.
As far as archaeologists know, the Australian Aborigines were the first people to inhabit Australia. In fact, the ancestors of the indigenous Australians were the first human beings to cross oceanic depths between continents (Ward 1). Anthropologists speculate that the first human occupants in ...
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