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Last updated on March 6th, 2018 at 12:30 am

CNN explains Australia Day:

January 26 marks the day in 1788 when a fleet of settlers and convicts from Britain arrived in what was to become Sydney to begin the new colony of New South Wales.

But among Aboriginal people, the original inhabitants of the land, the day is known as “Invasion Day.”

And the day the original inhabitants arrived is known as Burn Everything Day:

Settlers who came to Australia 50,000 years ago and set fires that burned off natural flora and fauna may have triggered a cataclysmic weather change that turned the continent’s interior into the dry desert it is today, United States and Australian researchers say.

Their study, reported in the latest issue of the journal, Geology, supports arguments that early settlers literally changed the landscape of the continent with fire.

People are also blamed for killing off 85 per cent of Australia’s huge animals, including an ostrich-sized bird, 19 species of marsupials, a 7.5m lizard and a Volkswagen-sized tortoise.

These practices have become known as “living in harmony with the environment” and “maintaining a balance with nature”.

Posted by Tim B. on 01/26/2005 at 07:47 AM
    1. We had a lengthy report here in Hong Kong’s evening news regarding Australia day. Two standouts: the voice over saying that to indigenous Australians it is ‘invasion day’, then following this up with ‘millions of australians dont agree and set about enjoying the day”. The second being the picture of joy on the face of an asian australian, no better advertisement about the lucky country than that.

      Posted by Nic on 01/26 at 07:58 AM • permalink


    1. ‘A record figure of more than 12,000 people from around the world took citizenship vows Wednesday to become Australian citizens.’

      Invading bastards.

      Posted by ilibcc on 01/26 at 08:30 AM • permalink


    1. Now, THAT’s an appropriate use of scare quotes!

      I was surfing the net the other night, and my husband was watching discovery or history or something. There was a program on “the real Columbus” or something like that. The closing words were something along the lines of “and though he went to his grave certain he had, in fact, reached Asia, he’ll be forever remembered as the man who introduced disease, war, and slavery to America.”

      Excuse me?

      As though the Aztec, Myan, Iriquois, Cheyanne, etc didn’t have war and slavery already? And what of Montezuma’s revenge?


      Posted by birdwoman on 01/26 at 08:57 AM • permalink


    1. “Early humans”, “settlers” and “people”. What more-specific term is missing from the above article? Would the same choice of terminology have been used if it was light-skinned humans who had been doing the environmental destruction?

      Incidentally, I’m not sure that this is exactly news. I was taught that Aborigines had caused massive environmental change through burning of woodland in my high school geography class in the 1980’s.

      Posted by Jim Geones on 01/26 at 09:33 AM • permalink


    1. :-/

      Australia isn’t the only place “ruined and devastated” by the ancients.  The Sahara desert was ancient Rome’s bread basket and a little closer to our time, la belle cut down every tree in Haiti causing it to be the desert it is today. The Dominican Republic, the other side of the island of Hispaniola, has a totally different landscape, but then it wasn’t lucky enough to have been the recipients of French culture

      Posted by blerp on 01/26 at 10:46 AM • permalink


    1. “And what of Montezuma’s revenge?” –birdwoman–

      I’m in favor of suing Mexico for reparations.

      Posted by Arty on 01/26 at 11:56 AM • permalink


    1. You know how “Canberra” is supposed to mean “meeting-place”?

      A mate of mine who’s got Ngunnawal ancestry says that the translation isn’t exact. It was a meeting place alright, a place used by the three major peoples around here to discuss and settle differences. To engage in a “frank exchange of views”, also spears and war-boomerangs.

      A better translation would be “Battleground”, or “Arena”. A place where disputes are settled once and for all, eating of the losers afterwards strictly optional (and only on special occasions).

      So the name’s even more appropriate than most people think.

      Posted by Zoe Brain on 01/26 at 12:18 PM • permalink


    1. How unusual that aborigines aren’t mentioned explicitly in this article. They were just “people�? as you can’t have “aborigines�? plus “killing off 85 per cent of Australia’s huge animals�? in the same sentence.

      Posted by Anton on 01/26 at 01:42 PM • permalink


    1. Settlers who came to Australia 50,000 years ago and set fires that burned off natural flora and fauna may have triggered a cataclysmic weather change that turned the continent’s interior into the dry desert it is today, United States and Australian researchers say

      All by themselves? The end of the last Ice Age had nothing to do with it.

      As I recall, about 50,000 years ago we had an Ice Age going on. Messed with weather patterns it did. Places that now get little rain get tons more back then. Australia and North Africa e.g.

      BTW, The Romans didn’t grow grain in the Sahara proper. North African grain was grown along North Africa’s Mediterranean coast and in the Nile Valley. The Sahara itself was just as hot and dry then as it is now.

      Posted by mythusmage on 01/26 at 05:44 PM • permalink


    1. :smirk:

      “In Roman times, however, the region just east of the Atlas Mountains was still able to support irrigated fields of wheat, and the area which is now stark desert was known as the breadbasket of the Roman empire.”

      Posted by blerp on 01/26 at 07:17 PM • permalink


    1. blerp, that quote says that a small area of the Sahara that could once support agriculture is now as arid as the rest (was still able to support irrigated fields of wheat”), and that area was near to the Mediterranean coast (“just east of the Atlas Mountains”).  The Sahara as a whole was as arid in 2500 BC as it is now (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sahara).

      Posted by jic on 01/26 at 11:12 PM • permalink




      Posted by max power on 01/27 at 12:44 AM • permalink


    1. AND they got rid of those cute pygmy folk who were here minding their own business, and who have been airbrushed out of history as this paper shows:
      http://www.sydneyline.com/Pygmies Extinction.htm

      We also just have to ignore the fact that if it wasn’t the British who sailed in it was going to be the French, Dutch, Portuguese,Russians, or any other vicious Eurotrash with a sailing boat or three!
      Hey, I’m sick of working for a living. Why don’t I just hire some smart lawyer to argue that its all someone else’s fault and that I should be paid for life to do nothing?

      Posted by blogstrop on 01/27 at 05:55 AM • permalink


    1. bloody hell, it’s lucky the Brits turned up when they did.
      what would those genocidal bastards have done to the poor little koalas and platypuses (platypii ?)

      Posted by FusterCluck on 01/27 at 06:00 AM • permalink


    1. oops, okay it wasn’t genocide.
      there’s a word for it i’m sure. Faunocide ? Marsupiocide ?

      Posted by FusterCluck on 01/27 at 06:01 AM • permalink


    1. Interesting, that the same do-gooders that champion ‘reconciliation’ with Aboriginals also spend a considerable amount of time badmouthing Gunns Timber and forestry practices in Tasmania.

      Posted by lmbrjk on 01/27 at 06:30 AM • permalink


    1. BTW, a similar situation took place in N. America, where the arrival of, er, settlers, across the Bering land bridge (Siberia-Alaska) was swiftly followed by the extinction of most large animals, including horses.

      This is why the indians, er, aboriginals, er, natives, er, first nations people … whatever … didn’t use the wheel: no draft animals such as horses to hitch up to the front of your wagon, hence no need for a wagon. This also explains why the er, arrogant invaders who came later had to reintroduce horses.

      Funny, who wiped them out and who conserved them. If you like horses, that is.

      Posted by localharbor on 01/27 at 09:02 PM • permalink


  1. posted by blerp:

    “Australia isn’t the only place “ruined and devastated�? by the ancients.  The Sahara desert was ancient Rome’s bread basket”

    the sahara about 10,000 years ago was a sea of grass supporting nomadic peoples.

    at present the earth’s axis is tilted over at 23.5* but this changes over time, back then it was tilted more. this is one of the regular cycles the earth’s orbit goes thru.

    with the earth tilted over more resulted in the afican monsoons travelling further north than they do today and bringing rain to the sahara.

    as a result of the earth’s axis changing the weather pattern and climate of the sahara, the nomads headed east and began the egyptian civilisation along the nile.

    Posted by vinnyboombutts on 01/29 at 12:00 AM • permalink