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Title: Settlement and Dispossession
Contributor(s): Ford, Lisa (author); Roberts, David Andrew  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2022
Early Online Version: 2022-08
DOI: 10.1017/9781108633949.013
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This chapter explores the legal history of dispossession in the nineteenth century. It argues, first, that the failure to sign a treaty with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples for land in Australia was a significant act of dispossession. While there was no declaration that Australia was 'terra nullius' in 1788, the failure to treat has been wielded since to dispossess Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of land rights and sovereignty. The chapter then explores dispossession through the legal history of expansion - the mixture of legality and lawlessness that fed the pastoral boom in Australia after 1824. With the advent of self-government, Australian legislation facilitating the breaking up of some pastoral leases into fee simple farms from 1861 effected a more complete dispossession by closing Country to Indigenous Australians. These varied processes of dispossession by tenure were fed by acts and omissions of jurisdiction. For many decades, Aboriginal people were not protected by settler law because their legal status was unclear. The designation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as subjects of the British crown after 1836 resulted in an uneven mix of hyper-policing and under-policing.

Publication Type: Book Chapter
Grant Details: ARC/DP180100537
Source of Publication: The Cambridge Legal History of Australia, p. 305-327
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Place of Publication: Cambridge, United Kingdom
ISBN: 9781108633949
Fields of Research (FoR) 2020: 430302 Australian history
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2020: 130703 Understanding Australia’s past
HERDC Category Description: B1 Chapter in a Scholarly Book
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Editor: Editor(s): Peter Cane, Lisa Ford and Mark McMillan
Appears in Collections:Book Chapter
School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

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