Pre Customary Law 1788 Essay, Research Paper
The making of a nation is a slow and painful process. It needs a people who identify with each other and with the land they inhabit. Australia began that process on 26 January 1788. This essay will attempt to describe the Pre-European Customary law which existed in Australia in 1788. When the first fleet arrived in Botany Bay in 1788, It brought with it all the laws of England. English laws were seen as being every Englishman?s birthright. The coming of English laws was to have disastrous consequences for the original inhabitants of this continent, the Aborigines. Aboriginal land rites have received limited recognition. Today, great debate continues in our society on righting the wrongs that have been done to the Aborigines since the European invasion.
Pre-Customary Law-Aboriginal Custom
What we know of Aboriginal society is somewhat speculative. Most of our information comes from Europeans who observed it in a process of change. In 1788 there were approximately 300,000 Aborigines living when the Europeans arrived.. It has been estimated that there were as many as 500 tribes of varying size, each with their own distinct territory, history, dialect and culture (Broome, 1982, p11). In Aboriginal Australia, people and land were united, a spiritual link existed by virtue of birth or conception. The maintenance of body and soul relied on access to the land, food and water was necessary for physical survival but the land was so much more than just a mercantile resource. To remove or take away a tribes ancestry territory was to take and destroy both past and future because the spiritual connection could not be transferred to another area.
The Aboriginal people were bound spiritually to a particular locality; this locality was their ?home? or ?dreaming place?. Dreaming or Dreamtime stories can be defined as the Aborigine?s religion, it was reinforcement of the Aborigine?s social existence. Thus, the Aborigines were shaped by their Dreamtime stories which were both an explanation of how the world came to be and how people must conduct their behaviour and social relations. Through these stories and the land people derived a sense of belonging, of identity and of oneness with the living world. All of these people were deeply religious.
Each individual belonged to a family but also to a tribe or estate group (Dingle, 1988, 9). The basis of the kinship system was that the Aborigines considered their whole group as family. For example, the terms; Mother, Father, Brother Sister, Uncle and Aunt were extended to everyone in the tribe. A number of tribes were united by shared language, beliefs, customs an