University of Western Australia Press and Institute of Applied Aboriginal Studies, Western Australian College of Advanced Education
Place of Publication
Perth, Western Australia
The frontier of European settlement in the colony of Western Australia a hundred years ago stretched way beyond the south-western corner to the far north, and pastoralists were pushing steadily inland wherever the countryside offered promise of a living to be gained. Only the presence of Aborigines stood between them and the land they sought. On a frontier as far from the colonial capital as this where governmental representatives were few or absent, the newcomers were largely free to deal with the Aboriginal presence in their own way. Whether relations between the original inhabitants and the invaders were mostly peaceful or conflicting depended on a host of factors, such as the tenor of initial encounters, the expectations the Europeans had of the Aborigines, whether or not Aboriginal sacred sites or objects were violated, and so on. What was certain, however, in the absence of convict labour, was the vital need for an Aboriginal labour force if the fledgling industry was to survive in the more remote areas of the colony...