J Rose, Mullumbimby
It is a pity Chibo Mertineit (Letters, 27 January) hadn’t read rather more Australian history. He would have seen how the ‘fauna’ were in fact regarded.
The King’s instructions to Arthur Phillip said, inter alia, ‘endeavour by every means to open an intercourse with the natives (sic) and to conciliate their affections… And if any of our subjects wantonly destroy them, or [interrupt] their several occupation, it is our will and pleasure that you do cause such offenders to be brought to punishment… report… in what manner those people (sic) may be turned to the advantage of the colony.’
It is not to the point of this letter whether the instructions were carried out but it is to the point, most certainly, that the instructions did not assume a land empty of people, or human beings.
Ed note: But it is to the point that ‘natives’ were not recognised in Australia and therefore it was declared ‘terra nullius’ creating the legal fiction needed to ignore the requirement set out above and claim the land without recognition of the ‘natives’ occupying the land.