Menu
News

Was Australia invaded or settled? University defends stance

LUKAS COCH

A NEW South Wales university has defended its decision to advise students to use the term "invaded" rather than "settled" to describe the arrival of Europeans in the country.

The University of New South Wales's (UNSW) terminology guide on colonial history urges students against saying Captain Cook "discovered" Australia, pointing out Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders had long since lived there.

"Australia was not settled peacefully, it was invaded, occupied and colonised," says the guidebook.

"Describing the arrival of the Europeans as a 'settlement'' attempts to view Australian history from the shores of England rather than the shores of Australia."

Yet commentators have accused UNSW of "whitewashing" history and speaking "rubbish", in a backlash university staff said was further proof the country had not accepted its colonial past.

Australia's Daily Telegraph led criticism of the university, with a front page which read "UNSW rewrites the history books to state Cook 'invaded' Australia."

 

Kyle Sandilands.
Kyle Sandilands.

 

Radio hosts joined the paper in ridiculing the move, with presenter Kyle Sandilands calling university staff "w*****s".

Another radio DJ, Alan Jones, said such political correctness was "anathema to genuine scholarship and learning," according to the BBC.

Yet experts say the outrage fails to take into account how Aboriginal peoples perceive the past.

Jackie Huggins, an indigenous historian, told ABC: "For far too long it's been very unfair on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in terms of denying and having our history not even talked about it all.

"[The outrage] showed how far we have to go in educating our country and coming to terms with reconciliation and the debate that needs to happen."

The guidebook also said the term "Aboriginals" lumped many different kinds of people together and that "Aboriginal peoples" was more appropriate, while describing these peoples as "nomadic" reinforced the idea that Australia was not already occupied when the British arrived in 1788.

The terminology guide was not mandatory reading for students, said university staff.

WHAT DO YOU THINK: SHOULD WE USE THE TERM "INVADED" RATHER THAN "SETTLED" TO DESCRIBE THE ARRIVAL OF EUROPEANS IN AUSTRALIA?

JOIN OUR DAILY WATERCOOLER BY LEAVING A COMMENT BELOW.

Topics:  aboriginal editors picks national



Timeline given to Jetty Foreshore development plan

The State Government is starting a community engagement process over the development of crown land on the Jetty Foreshores.

Have your say on the continued development of the Jetty Foreshores

What's on this week

Save the date for the Coffs BCU Tri.

Check out the latest events happening on the Coffs Coast.

Mum would rather another crash than getting caught in a rip

CLOSE CALL: Woolgoolga local Kathy Haines (centre) and her two sons Nickolas and Jamie were rescued from a rip at Woolgoolga's Main Beach at the weekend.

A mother of two is lucky to be alive after being pulled from a rip

Local Partners