09/12/2010 - 00:00

Time to remember the ‘first Australians’

09/12/2010 - 00:00


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Before moving to recognise Aborigines in Australia’s Constitution it’s important to prove who the ‘first Australians’ were.

WHY do our leftist politicians always get simple things so wrong?

On November 8, Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Attorney-General Robert McClelland, and Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin announced moves for a referendum to insert another clause into Australia’s Constitution.

Twice in the first four paragraphs of their press release they claimed their proposed change would “recognise the special place of our first Australians”.

And twice in the first two paragraphs of the transcript of the press conference, Ms Gillard spoke of acknowledging “the special place [of] the first peoples of our nation”.

Fine. But who are Ms Gillard’s “first peoples” and “our first Australians?”

The answer is found in the first paragraph of her press statement: “The Gillard government today announced the first step towards recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Constitution.”

So she’s referring to continental Australian Aboriginal and offshore Torres Strait Islanders.


But is that historically, or, more pertinently, pre-historically, correct? By which State Scene means were these people, in fact, “our first Australians”.

If not, the Gillard government expects Australians to confirm at referendum something it’s alleging is correct, but which would be a falsehood, and thus a very grave error of fact would be inserted into the nation’s most important document, namely its constitution.

Let’s examine this crucially important question.

To get to the nub of this question, State Scene quotes from a June 2002 Quadrant article by Sydney authors, Keith Windschuttle and Tim Gillin, titled: The extinction of the Australian pygmies.

“From the 1940s until the 1960s, it was fairly widely known there were pygmies in Australia,” the authors write.

“They lived in North Queensland and had come in from the wild of the tropical rainforests to live on missions in the region.

“This was a fact recorded at the time not only in anthropological textbooks and articles but also in popular books about the Australian Aborigines.

“There was even an award-winning children’s book tracing their origins.”

After reading those lines, State Scene wasn’t surprised to read a Courier Mail article of August 25 2007 headlined ‘Pygmy elder faces eviction’ about 105-year-old Lizzy Wood, who Cairns’ District Regional Housing Corporation wished to relocate.

The story detailed how the corporation had spent $90,000 in maintenance over four years due to wild behaviour by 25 unnamed individuals who had frequented her home.

But Mrs Wood, described as a 110cm-tall elder, was quoted as saying: “They are making me homeless.

“I was born in the rainforest. I grew up chasing kangaroo and picking berries off the trees. I belong here. This is my land.

“The pygmy tribe – that is my mob. And this is the place I have chosen to die.”

The article concluded: “Anthropologists of the 1930s investigated reports of a lost pygmy-like tribe living in the Misty Mountain rainforest.

“Photos emerged of child-size adults, carrying wooden swords and shields.

“Experts have been divided as to whether the tribe are true pygmies, with prehistoric links to African rainforest dwellers, or simply small people.”

Even the late left-wing historian Manning Clark’s History of Australia refers to these people “and their place in the waves of migration of hunter-gatherer peoples from Asia who populated the Australian continent in the millennia before the British arrived in 1788.”

Messrs Windschuttle and Gillin add that “since then, the Australian pygmies have been totally obliterated from public memory” .

Why, then, are they being transformed into a Soviet-style blank spot? Because they’re a historical and pre-historical inconvenience that may get in the way of subsequent left-wing agendas, including, especially, reshaping Australia’s Constitution.

Before WWII, anthropologists Norman Tindale and Joseph Birdsell undertook an enormous amount of research and fieldwork to establish that Australian pygmies existed.

“Tindale and Birdsell examined and measured 52 adults and children at Cape Grafton and 95 at Kuranda,” Messrs Windschuttle and Gillin write.

“Most adult males were between 140 and 150 centimetres tall (four feet six inches to five feet).

“The women were shorter by 15 to 30 centimetres (six to 12 inches).

“Tindale and Birdsell concluded they were not just small but were radically unlike any other Aborigines in Australia.

“They named them Barrineans, after nearby Lake Barrine.”

Now, hold your breath for the next step, one Ms Gillard and her determined leftist colleagues won’t like hearing.

“Their [the pygmies] existence was offered as powerful confirmation of what was known as the ‘tri-hybrid theory’ of hunter-gatherer migration to Australia.

“This theory had been primarily developed by Birdsell, who came to do fieldwork in Australia for a PhD in anthropology at Harvard University.

“He originally announced it in 1941 in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology.

“Over subsequent decades, both he and Tindale worked on the theory, drawing connections between the Australian Aborigines’ physical differences and a growing body of evidence about Pleistocene era hunter-gatherer migrations across Asia, archaeological findings of skulls and stone tools in Australia, and data about Aboriginal genes and blood types.”

The tri-hybrid theory contends there were “three major waves of migration of quite different ancient people who came to the Australian continent from South-East Asia.”

The first, more than 40,000 years ago, when Australia, New Guinea and Tasmania were linked, involved Negritos, or pygmies with dark skin and frizzy hair.

About 20,000 years later, another wave, called Murrayians, who were lighter skinned, had a lot of wavy-hair and of stocky build, arrived.

“They drove the Negritos before them until the latter retreated to the highlands of New Guinea, the rainforests of North Queensland and to then ice-capped Tasmania,” Messrs Windschuttle and Gillin write.

Understandably the pygmies fled into thick jungle to ensure they survived.

“The Murrayians [related to Japan’s first people, the indigenous Ainu] became the dominant population on the east coast of Australia, and the open grasslands and parklands of the south and west of the continent,” the authors continue.

“Then, about 15,000 years ago, a third wave of hunter-gatherers arrived. They were comparatively tall, straight-haired and dark skinned, with very little body hair.

“Named Carpentarians, they colonised northern and central Australia.”

Now, why is Ms Gillard gearing up to have Australians voting for what may be the descendants of perhaps the second, certainly the third, waves to be erroneously, called “our first Australians” and the “the first peoples of our nation”?

Why are Australia’s pioneering pygmies – Lizzy Wood’s ancestors – being ignored, erased from historical memory, treated like an inconvenient truth, a blank spot?

Australians will become the laughing stock of the world, including at the United Nations and across Africa, if we wilfully ignore the true “first peoples of our nation”, “our first Australians”.

Before the hasty Gillard-McClelland-Macklin bid to impose falsehoods into our foundation document – the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia – a Parliamentary Inquiry should be convened where evidence by witnesses is given under oath.

The aim of such an inquiry would be to establish precisely who first inhabited the land Lincolnshire navigator, Matthew Flinders, named Australia.

Anything less wilfully evades the truth.

Those wanting to read the Windschuttle/Gillin article log on to www.Sydneyline.com, write ‘pygmies’ into the window at top right-hand corner and you’ll get it with photographs of descendents of the first Australians, our pygmies.

Then write to your MP demanding the parliamentary inquiry.



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