Monday, August 3, 2009

What Happened to the Aborigines?

The original inhabitants of Australia, the Aborigines, met the usual fate of widely-scattered native peoples when the white settlers began to arrive and multiply. Their numbers fell drastically. This was not due to any policy of cruelty or repression. From the start intentions towards them were good. But the vision of the white administrators was not equal to bridging the gulf between the intensely religious and ceremonial native culture and the materialistic aims of the settlers.

By a natural process, perhaps the result of apathy or despair, the number of Aborigines fell from 350,000 in the 18th century to some 40,000 in the 1930's. But since then with more sympathy and understanding, their numbers have started to rise again. The main effort is now being directed to stop them becoming a permanently underpriviledged minority and to develop their undoubted gifts.

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