Posted on August 18, 2012 Updated on August 28, 2012
Aboriginal shell middens appear on most of the surrounding beaches, evidence of a once thriving Indigenous population.
This entry was posted in beach, nature and tagged Australia, beach, Emerald Beach, nature, photography, shells.
Hello Margot, and Greetings from Wet West Wales (UK),
Thanks for visiting my blog. I really like the aesthetic of your blog, and that it’s images and texts are coming from such a different part of the world to Old South Wales. But can you tell me a bit more detail about the shell middens, like when the aborigines would have been on the beaches from an ignorant Pom. BW, Julian
Hi Julian, glad to give more info
Shell middens are vast quantities of discarded shells that indicate Indigenous people lived in the area, they are usually found on the coast, on headlands, sandy beaches and sand dunes but can be inland on rivers and lakes where fresh water shell fish live. The sites often have other remnants of habitation such as tools for prying shells open or scooping out the shellfish but I have only seen one site where tools are in evidence. In my local area the Indigenous tribe is called the Gumbaynggirr people and shell middens are one indication that Aborigines have lived in Australia for thousands of years – which annuls the European settlers claim of terra nullius (latin for ‘land belonging to no one’). It was the claim of terra nullius that justified Europeans taking over the land, because Aborigines lived a subsistence and nomadic lifestyle in tune with the land and seasons (no permanent dwellings or fences) the land was considered up for grabs and ‘vacant’. Terra nullius has been at the heart of the reconciliation debate and a landmark case called the Mabo case (Aborigines disputed terra nullius) saw it overturned opening the way for Aboriginal land rights and compensation.
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