[Australian History, 783 words, Genre: Realistic Fiction/Mind Fudge]
* Image courtesy of Dirk de Bruyn
The prisons in England were overflowing. There were too many criminals and not enough prison cells at the time. This had something to do with how the English were managing their own country at the time. As a matter of effect, it always comes down to wealth distribution. Without proper wealth distribution, you create the conditions in which crime takes place. Without those conditions, without poverty, the desire to take part in criminal activities is lessened. So at the time, because England was not managing its problems of poverty at the time, the prisons were overflowing with criminals.
They didn’t know what to do with all the criminals. And so they came up with a plan. And that plan was Australia. Captain Cook had just discovered the continent for the fourth time in history. The first time it had been discovered was by the native indigenous people of Australia. The second time it had been discovered was by the Chinese, who left it alone. The third time it had been discovered was by the Dutch, who also left it alone. For one reason or another, perhaps because they recognised the native inhabitants or they saw the continent as uninhabitable, they left it alone. Then the English and Captain Cook discovered it for the fourth time.
At the time England had this problem of overflowing prisons due to their poor management of the country. They thought to themselves, ‘There’s land there in Australia. We can just send the convicts there.’
I imagine they would have looked up the reasons for settling a country at the time. There were three reasons or circumstances that one country could inhabit the land at the time. Those circumstances were mutually agreed upon by the European nations at the time and those reasons were: (1) by persuading the indigenous inhabitants to submit themselves over to its overlordship; (2) by purchasing from those inhabitants the right to settle part or parts of it; and (3) by unilateral possession on the basis of first discovery and effective occupation.
So the King, Queen and whoever was in charge of England at the time got together and Captain Cook said that he had discovered this new land. The English were enthralled because this meant a resolution to their overflowing prisoner population as it came under section (3), which was terra nullius.
Now for the convicts who were being sent to Australia. It’s not like they had a choice at the time. They were prisoners and being sent to a place unknown to them as part of their prison sentence. The guards didn’t have a choice, because they were just doing their jobs. So off to Australia, across the seas, they travelled.
Now, when they got to Australia. The convicts and guards noticed the indigenous people. There would have been some argument amongst them saying something like, “Oh my god, there are people here, you said there weren’t any people here. We have effectively broken the European nations treaty. Fuck! What are we going to do? What are we going to do?”
So they sent word back to the King, the Queen, or whoever the hell it was. I don’t know what they really said in response to there being people there. Perhaps they said something like, “Let’s hope nobody notices.” Or they could have said, “Treat the indigenous people as you would your own.” And from that point on, it has been a shit storm of cultural miscommunication between the settlers and the indigenous population.
Meanwhile the other European nations noticed that the treaty had been broken and so people from all nations migrated to the land. They migrated to the land for the gold rush and to take part in the bountiful harvest of land in the country.
Some people are still talking about it. Still saying, “We have effectively broken the European nations treaty. Fuck! What are we going to do? What are we going to do? There are people here, oh my god, there are people here.” And then they turn around and see someone else from a different country and ask, “Excuse me, but who the fuck are you?”
“Oh, we’re Russian.” Or, “We’re Greek.” Or, “We’re Indian.”
And they’re freaking out saying, “Oh my God! There are people here! There are people here!”
There sure are.
And just like with the convicts and guards at the time of Australia’s settlement, they didn’t have much of a choice in coming to Australia, many of them have little choice in where they live. Most people are just seeking a better life for themselves. And in the larger expanse of history, it was inevitable, as most things and progressions usually are.