Aborigines and Settlers in Port
- What was the relationship between the land, daily life, cultural and
social practices of the Aboriginal communities across Port Phillip?
- What was the impact of European farming practices and attitudes to
land ownership on cultural practices, traditional food sources and
foot-gathering techniques of Aboriginal communities?
- In which ways did Aboriginal communities respond to the changes
brought by the Europeans?
- 33 Communities
- 10 languages
- numerous dialects
Highly ordered societies - Laws of kinship,
ritual, social rules and customs
Knowledge held by elders
Marriages arranged - Strengthen alliances,
access to food and resources
Conﬂicts were mostly about people not
- 4 loose ‘confederations’ -
Population: 20,000 generally accepted as Indigenous population
of Port Phillip before european settlement.
However, it is widely accepted that the population would have dropped
Inﬂuenza, measles, tuberculosis and venereal disease
By 1853 the population had declined by 80%
2000 Aboriginal deaths by frontier violence in the district
Displacement caused Indigenous conﬂict with other tribes
Settler impact on the country
Establishing runs, building huts, shelters
polluting water sources
introducing cloved animals such as sheep, cattle and horses.
Threatened traditional food sources
Murrnong (yam daisy) - staple sources - Sheep eat, dig up roots
Number of possums declining: Traditional clothes
Murrnong (Yam Daisy)
Who knew you
could eat a
We are hoofed animals -
Our hooves ruin the
ground and dig up roots
We like to eat plants,
ﬂowers and grass.
We don’t mean to ruin
the environment but
we can’t help it when
there’s 1000’s of us
What’s a pastoral
1833 African Slave Trade Banned
1837: The Port Phillip Aboriginal Protectorate was set up
Chief Protector George Augustus Robinson
4 protectors: Job to make contact and persuade groups to abandon their
country and settle on reserves.
Badly funded from the start, protectors were ill-equipped and poorly
Failure blamed on the ‘failings of Aborigines’ rather than actions of
Resistance and Violence
Broome describes the Aboriginal people not only as victims, but
also as voyages in a new world, who responded in different ways
to the arrival and settlement of the strangers.
Attacks on property
Formed in 1842 by Governor La Trobe
The Gold Rush
Attracted to the Gold Rush
Select Report into Aborigines
10 years after rate abandonment of the protectorate scheme -
1860 - Board of Aborigines
Aboriginal reserves set up and funded
By 1869 - quarter of Aborigines were living on mission stations