Botany Bay: Where Histories Meet

By Maria Nugent | Go to book overview

3

BOOMERANGS FOR SALE Tourism in the birthplace of the nation

In 1895, the New South Wales Aborigines Protection Board reserved seven or so acres on Botany Bay's north shore for the exclusive use of Aboriginal people. 1 This portion of land was where a handful of Aboriginal families had already permanently established themselves, certainly since the late 1870s but perhaps earlier; where the newly appointed Protector of Aborigines had by his own account allowed them to remain when he found them there in 1881; and where Aboriginal people from other metropolitan camps had relocated in the 1880s and 1890s when forced out of the city. Formally creating Aboriginal reserves, typically pieces of land already occupied by Aboriginal people, was a common practice of the Protection Board at this time. The reserves were for the exclusive use of Aborigines `where useful employment, education and resting place for the old and sick would be offered'. 2

In 1899, four years later, a much larger portion of Botany Bay's foreshore was formally reserved. On the south shore, 248 acres, including the spot where Captain Cook had first landed in 1770, was resumed by the government from private ownership and set aside as a public reserve with the intention of preserving it as an historic site. The land in question had been held in private hands since the early 1800s, and during that time had been used relatively

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