A History of Australia: From the Earliest Times to the Age of Macquarie

By C. M. H. Clark | Go to book overview

I
THE EARLIEST TIMES TO CATHOLIC CHRISTENDOM

CIVILIZATION did not begin in Australia until the last quarter of the eighteenth century. The reason lies partly in the environment and way of life of the people inhabiting the continent before the coming of the European, and partly in the internal history of those Hindu, Chinese, and Muslim civilizations which colonized and traded in the archipelago of south- east Asia. The early inhabitants of the continent created cultures but not civilizations.1The first of these were the Negrito people-short, dark-skinned, curly-haired and broad-nosed--who were forced to migrate from their hunting grounds in south-east Asia by the movement into those areas of people of a higher material culture, at a time when Tasmania, Australia and New Guinea formed part of the land mass of Asia.

Later another people arrived--the Murrayians, who were related to the Ainu in Japan and either destroyed the Negritos or drove them into the valleys behind Cairns, and south to what is now Tasmania, the islands of Bass Strait and Kangaroo Island. Then, in turn, the Murrayians were challenged and displaced by the Carpentarians--a people probably related to the Vedda of Ceylon, who settled in the northern portion of Australia after driving the Murrayians southwards in their turn. When the ice receded in northern Asia and in Antarctica, the climate of central Australia gradually became drier. The rivers ran only in wet seasons; the inland lakes turned into salt pans; the huge animals dependent on such water died out, leaving their bones as a memorial of a time before the days of desolation. As the ice sheets melted, the levels of the ocean gradually rose till Tasmania, Kangaroo Island, Australia, New Guinea and the islands of the Indonesian and Malay archipelagos were cut off from each other by stretches of sea.2

____________________
1
A distinction is made here between 'civilization' in the sense described in the Oxford English Dictionary, of a people brought out of a state of barbarism, and 'culture' in the sense defined in the Grosse Brockhaus as the sum of the efforts made by a community to satisfy and reconcile the basic human requirements of food, clothing, shelter, security, care of the weak and social cohesion by controlling its natural environment. The word 'culture' is not used in its other sense of 'the efforts made to ennoble, refine and cultivate the human personality by sublimating its instinctual nature'.
2
This account is based on N. Tindale and J. Birdsell: "'Results of the Harvard- Adelaide Universities Anthropological Expedition 1938-9: Tasmanian Tribes in North Queensland'", in Records of the South Australian Museum, vol. 7, Adelaide, 1441-3; and H. A. Lindsay: "'The First Australians'", in Science News, 43 ( London, 1957), pp. 54-61. Before the work of Tindale, writers attempting to explain origins were

-3-

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A History of Australia: From the Earliest Times to the Age of Macquarie
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Preface ix
  • Contents xi
  • Errata xiii
  • Contents xiii
  • Abbreviations xv
  • Part I - The Forerunners 1
  • I - The Earliest Times to Catholic Christendom 3
  • 2 - The Contribution of The Protestants 21
  • 3 - The Sons of Enlightenment 42
  • Part II - The Foundation 57
  • 4 - The Choice of Botany Bay 59
  • 5 - The Beginning of Sydney Cove 73
  • 6 - Convicts and the Faith Of The Founders 90
  • Part III - Phillip to Bligh 111
  • 7 - Phillip 113
  • 8 - Grose, Paterson and Hunter 132
  • 9 - King, Flinders, and Port Phillip 160
  • 10 - Van Diemen's Land and The Civilization of New South Wales 186
  • II - Bligh 210
  • 12 - The Society of New South Wales In 1810 235
  • Part IV - The Age of Macquarie 261
  • 13 - Macquarie, 1810-1815 263
  • 14 - Macquarie, 1816-1819 296
  • 15 - Macquarie, 1820-1821 337
  • 16 - Macquarie and Mr Commissioner Bigge In England 367
  • Appendices 381
  • A Select Bibliography 389
  • Index 411
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