Aboriginal Revisionism


History is written by the victors, but sometimes a scholar can correct the record:

Before white settlers arrived, Australia's indigenous peoples lived in houses and villages, and used surprisingly sophisticated architecture and design methods to build their shelters, new research has found….

The findings, by the anthropologist and architect Dr Paul Memmott, of the University of Queensland, discredits a commonly held view in Australia that Aborigines were completely nomadic before the arrival of Europeans 200 years ago.

The belief was part of the argument used by white settlers to claim that Australia was terra nullius—the Latin term for land that belonged to nobody.

Few of the original buildings remain, because "local authorities burned or bulldozed the structures in the belief they were health hazards."

Memmott outlines his evidence in a thick and pricey new book, Gunyay, Goondie + Wurley. If you don't feel like shelling out $70 for that, you can see a gallery of Aboriginal architecture here.