A journey travelled: Aboriginal - European relations at Albany and the surrounding region from first contact to 1926

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Abstract

The first recorded contacts between Aboriginal people and Europeans at the Albany region of Western Australia took place in the early nineteenth century when a few ships began visiting King George Sound to take on supplies of water and firewood, or to hunt for seals and whales. In late 1826, a British military garrison was established there to deter any possible French plans to claim the western third of the continent. For a variety of political, social and geographical reasons the relationship that developed between the region’s Menang Aboriginal people and the European intruders in the early years of the settlement was amicable to an extent perhaps without parallel in Australian frontier history. Early nineteenth century Albany has come to be known as the ‘friendly frontier’.1 As the region was opened for free settlement in 1833, the relationship began to alter and the initial harmony became strained, although the degree of violence between the Aboriginal and settler communities never approached that of most other areas on the Australian frontier. For reasons that included European intolerance, the willingness of some Aboriginal people to work for the few pastoralists who were prepared to establish sheep stations in the unpromising hinterland to Albany’s north, and a desire to escape the source of introduced disease, Aboriginal people began moving away from the town of Albany and its immediate vicinity in the early 1860s.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
StateUnpublished - 2012

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