Aboriginal Australia


This map indicates the general location of larger groupings of Aboriginal Australians and Torres Strait Islanders, which may include smaller groups such as clans, dialects, or individual languages in a group.

Major locations on the map are listed below.

English place name – Indigenous place name (Indigenous language)

Adelaide – Tarndanya (Kaurna)
Alice Springs – Mparntwe (Arrernte)
Brisbane – Meanjin (Turrbal)
Cairns – Gimuy (Yidiny)
Canberra – Kamberra (Ngunnawal)
Darwin – Garrmalang (Larrakia)
Melbourne – Narrm (Bunwurrung)
Melville Island – Yermalner (Tiwi)
Perth – Boorloo (Noongar)
Sydney – Warrang (Dharug)
Tasmania – lutruwita (palawa kani) *note that palawa kani names do not capitalize the first letter

Indigenous Land Titling in Australia

Indigenous Land Titling in Australia Under Three Tenures by Francis Markham and Jon Altman

Indigenous Land Titling in Australia Under Three Tenures as of 2013 by Francis Markham and Jon Altman

1. Land claimed or automatically scheduled under land rights law (an estimated 969,000 sq kms).
2. 92 determinations of exclusive possession under native title law totaling 752,000 sq kms.
3. 142 determinations of non-exclusive possession under native title law totaling 825,000 sq kms.
The last category often provides a weak form of property right that needs to be shared with other interests, most commonly commercial rangeland pastoralism. These three categories total 2.5 million sq kms or roughly 33 per cent of terrestrial Australia.

Source: http://maorilawreview.co.nz/2014/03/the-political-ecology-and-political-economy-of-the-indigenous-land-revolution-in-australia/

Indigenous Land in Australia 1788-2013

A snapshot of Indigenous held land in Australia 1788–2013

A snapshot of Indigenous held land in Australia 1788–2013 by Francis Markham and Jon Altman

In 1788 Indigenous nations possessed the entire continent of Australia. Then during a prolonged period of land grab from 1788 to the late 1960s Indigenous peoples were dispossessed. But then, from the late 1960s, there has been an extraordinary period of rapid legal repossession and restitution that is ongoing. This has not occurred as part of some coherent policy framework, but rather as a somewhat ad hoc land titling ‘revolution’ driven intermittently by political, social justice and judicial imperatives.

The question arises: If the logic of settler colonialism and market capitalism is dispossession, why have powerful state and corporate interests tolerated legal repossession? Professor Jon Altman from the Australian National University, Canberra offers his answers to this paradox and a fantastic set of maps in his 2014 paper, “The Political Ecology and Political Economy of the Indigenous Land Titling ‘Revolution’ in Australia.”

Source: http://maorilawreview.co.nz/2014/03/the-political-ecology-and-political-economy-of-the-indigenous-land-revolution-in-australia/

Eora Map of Sydney Harbour

Aboriginal Clans and Place Names of Sydney Harbour, Compiled by Jeremy Steele

Aboriginal Clans and Place Names of Sydney Harbour, Compiled by Jeremy Steele

Prior to the arrival of the first fleet of 1,300 British convicts, guards, and administrators in January, 1788, Sydney Harbour was the homeland of the the Eora people. The Eora generally identify with three main clans – the Gadigal / Cadigal (purple), the Wangal (green), and the Gamaragal / Cammeraygal (yellow).

“Place Names of the original inhabitants as records by William Dawes, ‘Anon’, the Science of Man, J.H. Watson, Tyrell, James Meehan’s Map 1807, Macquarie Aboriginal Words and other sources. The names have been re-spelt consistently, to approximate what they might have sounded like. Two spelling are given where the original sources strongly diverse. Alternative names are also given where the original sources do not agree. Compiled by Jeremy Steele, May 2003”

Source: http://naabawinya.blogspot.com/2012/09/sydney-clan-boundaries-cadigal-and_27.html

Micronesian Stick Charts

Micronesian stick charts show wave patterns and currents. The shells represent atolls and islands. Using stick charts (also called rebbelibs, medos, and mattangs) ancient mariners successfully navigated thousands of miles of the South Pacific Ocean without compasses, astrolabes, or other mechanical devices.

Ancient mariners from Majõl (The Marshall Islands) developed “stick charts” to understand the vast Pacific Ocean. The charts aren’t made of sticks. Most stick charts are made of coconut fiber and shells. Placement of the fibers and shells indicate the location of islands, waves, and currents.

Stick charts were not used for navigation in the way we use maps or charts today. In fact, the Marshallese probably did not consult stick charts on their long journeys throughout Micronesia. Navigators memorized the chart before the journey was made.

Charts were highly individualized. Sometimes, a stick chart could only be read by the person who made it! Still, there are some standard features used to interpret ocean features.

The stick charts are the earliest known system of mapping ocean swells in the world. Use of stick charts and navigation by swells apparently ended after World War II, when the Marshallese way of life was radically altered by US occupation and nuclear weapons testing.

Source: http://education.nationalgeographic.com/education/media/micronesian-stick-chart/?ar_a=1

The Deforestation and Colonization of Aotearoa

Māori land in Te Ika-a-Māui (the North Island), 1860–1939

Māori land in Te Ika-a-Māui (the North Island), 1860–1939

Forest cover of Aotearoa (New Zealand), 1840-present day.

Forest cover of Aotearoa (New Zealand), 1840-present day.

Similar to the United States and just about every other settler colony (see the US counterpart map – https://decolonialatlas.wordpress.com/2014/11/03/the-deforestation-and-colonization-of-the-united-states/ ) European settlers in Aotearoa (New Zealand) had to first remove the Māori from the land before they could begin to extract resources from it – in this case, timber. As Māori land holdings decreased since the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, so too did the forests of Aotearoa. This may have been a contributing factor in the extinction of dozens of endemic bird species since European colonization – the introduction of predatory mammals to Aotearoa being another large factor.