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ATSINJ - General Issues

The Meaning of Terra Nullius

Terra Nullius - A Latin term which translates as 'Empty Land' or 'Nobody's Land'. Captain Cook declared Australia to be 'Terra Nullius' when he sailed into Botany Bay on April 28th 1770, so that he could claim Australia for Britain. This proclamation ignored the fact that hundreds of different groups of Indigenous people occupied the land (National Gallery of Victoria). 

Australia's Timeline 60,000 BC–1836 (Documenting Democracy). Click Here to view resource

Secret Instructions to Lieutenant Cook 30 July 1768 (UK) (Documenting Democracy). Click Here to view resource

Racism No way (Conference of Education Systems Chief Executive Officers 2000) Click Here to view resource

The Native Title Debate: Background and Current Issues Briefing ...
by G Griffith - tenure system was based on the concept of terra nullius.6 ..... referred to for matters such as the definition of native title, including the content.. Click Here to view resource

Myth of Terra Nullius



Paul Keating - The Redfern Address - Australian Labor Party



After Mabo (1997).  

Curator’s clip description

Peter Yu of the Yawuru and Bunuba, Kimberley Land Council, talks about Indigenous relationship to land and the High Court decision in Mabo v Queensland (No 2) (1992) 175 CLR 1. Paul Keating stresses the chance to legislate away the fiction of terra nullius, offering a truth rather than a lie as the basis for policy. Images show Indigenous people on the land and in the meeting room. A title states, 'From September 1992 until December 1993 Indigenous people entered intense negotiations with the Federal Parliament to incorporate Native Title into legislation’ (NFSA). Click Here to view resource