by Noel Loos
North Queensland has long been a frontier province of Aboriginal Australia. Well before Europeans penetrated to the south-west Pacific, the Torres Strait Islanders had regular and extensive contact with Aboriginal groups in Cape York Peninsula and the Dutch had visited the coast at intervals since 1606. Not till the coming of the white settler in the mid nineteenth century, however, did ‘invasion’ begin. When it did, the Aborigines were dispossessed of their land and, since in British eyes they had no title to it, resistance was considered a criminal activity.
This book studies Aboriginal-European relations on four different frontiers of contact. Though the pastoral industry led to the colonisation of most of North Queensland other parts were also the scene of confrontation: the gold mines, the timber-getting areas of the rainforest which later were settled by farmers and the pearlshell and bêche-de-mer areas on the far north coast. In all areas, despite sometimes armed resistance by the Aborigines, the Europeans imposed their authority.
This book has something challenging to say to all white Australians interested in the basic values on which their society is based and is an essential reference for Aborigines wanting to know how and why they were dispossessed.