This work shows that the term Terra Nullius by Cook and was a lie.
Since the European invasion of Australia in 1788, the Aboriginal people have been oppressed into a world unnatural to their existence for thousands of years. First came the influx of the strangers who carried with them diseases, which decimated the immediate population of the Sydney tribes. It is estimated that over 750,000 Aboriginal people inhabited the island continent in 1788. The colonists were led to believe that the land was terra nullius (‘no one’s land’), which Lt James Cook declared Australia to be in 1770. For thousands of years prior to the arrival of Europeans, the south coast of NSW was occupied by different Aboriginal clans. Living primarily along the foreshores, they fished and hunted in the waters and hinterlands of the area, and harvested food from the surrounding bush. Self-sufficient and harmonious, they had no need to travel far from their lands, since the resources about them were so abundant, and trade with other tribal groups was well established. Moving throughout their country in accordance with the seasons, people only needed to spend about 4-5 hours per day working to ensure their survival. With such a large amount of leisure time available, they developed a rich and complex ritual life – language, customs, spirituality and the law – the heart of which was connection to the land.
The arrival of Lt James Cook in 1770 marked the beginning of the end for this ancient way of life. Cook’s voyage of exploration had sailed under instructions to take possession of the Southern Continent if it was uninhabited, or with the consent of the natives if it was occupied. Either way, it was to be taken. Upon his arrival, Lt Cook declared the land he called New South Wales to be the property of Britain’s King George III, and ignored the inconvenient fact that the land was already well populated. His failure to even attempt to gain the consent of the natives began the legal fiction that Australia was waste and unoccupied (terra nullius: )
Cook was followed soon enough by the arrival of the First Fleet, in January of 1788, under the command of Captain Arthur Phillip, whose mission was to establish a penal colony and take control of Terra Australia for settlement.
Size 122cm Deep x 122cm Wide