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The Forum > General Discussion > Australian Natives and Aboriginal Natives

Australian Natives and Aboriginal Natives

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A couple of prominent Australians have recently discovered that an ancestor was described as a 'native', and taken it to mean 'Aboriginal'. However, the question is whether they were also described as an 'Australian native' or an 'Aboriginal native'.

The Australian Natives' Association was set up in 1871. Earlier, a Sydney Natives' body had been set up, in about 1838 - roughly when the first generation of native-born white Australians had reached adulthood and were beginning to assert themselves, as against the British-born whites, 'natives' against 'ring-ins'. A similar association was set up in Melbourne, leading to the instituting of the A.N.A, which was, in its time, and until surprisingly recently, a solid pillar of the native-born white establishment and counted many prime ministers in its membership.

Many native-born white Australians proudly called themselves 'natives': one of the first times that I had heard of this was from a researcher with the Genealogical Society, who had found that her own grandfather had insisted on 'Australian native' being written on his death certificate.

Aboriginal people certainly were often called 'natives' in letters and everyday speech in the nineteenth century, but in official documents, where there needed to be some differentiation, they were more commonly referred to as 'Aboriginal natives' or even 'black natives'.

We would all, or most of us, love to have something exotic in our ancestry a Spanish princess, or a Turkish soldier-of-fortune, or vice versa. Times change; there is nowadays some cachet in discovering an Indigenous past. But even eminent figures need to do a bit more research, to discover whether or not their ancestors were 'Australian natives' or 'Aboriginal natives'.
Posted by Loudmouth, Saturday, 19 September 2015 12:28:59 PM
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Loudmouth, which two prominent Australians are you referring to?
I'm presuming Cory Bernardi's one (though he specifically didn't assume it meant Aboriginal) but I haven't heard of anyone else making that discovery.

I think you're right about people wanting to find something exotic in our ancestry. Probably most of us will find nothing more exotic than Plantagenets.
Posted by Aidan, Saturday, 19 September 2015 10:53:04 PM
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Dear Joe (Loudmouth),

I love watching the Australian Story series -
"Who Do You Think You are?"

One thing I have learned is that everyone has
a story and everyone's background is "exotic."

We're all different - and it's our differences
that make us unique.
Posted by Foxy, Saturday, 19 September 2015 11:55:43 PM
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cont'd ...

Ray Martin will tell us his family's story
this coming Tuesday.

It should be worth watching.
Posted by Foxy, Saturday, 19 September 2015 11:57:12 PM
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erm ...cof cof
It's about white natives, to put it racially. All European-type people born in Oz are Australia natives. Not the Queen of Australia, not Captain Cook or Aust .Aboriginal children born in New Zealand.
Posted by nicknamenick, Sunday, 20 September 2015 10:28:00 AM
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Hi Nick,

That's right, so now there are 'Australian natives' of Vietnamese, Greek, Sudanese background, etc., IF they have been born here. Actually, there are also 'Aboriginal natives' who also have Vietnamese or Greek background, and probably Sudanese background now as well. People's backgrounds are becoming more and more gloriously mixed, and beautifully exotic.

That 'Australian Natives' movement grew in strength towards Federation, and really, Federation was its major political expression: Australian states coming together and being run by Australians - white Australians - 'Australian Natives'. The A.N.A. was still running into the 1990s, but I think it's changed its title to 'Lifeplan', running old people's homes [can you till call them that ? or is it offensive ?] and operating as an insurance company.

Dear Foxy,

Yes, I enjoy WDYTYA when I can get to it: I love the surprises. You get the idea that every family has a multitude of skeletons in its cupboards if anybody looks deeply enough. How many times have we come across bigamists and crooks in people's stories ? i.e. human stories :)

But for many of us, the trail could go in any direction or even dry up completely, given the likelihood that we could have any of a multitude of fathers and paternal ancestors. One day, personal genomes will cost next to nothing, and be very quick, so that should certainly help clear up some uncertainties. And provide yet more surprises !

Love,

Joe
Posted by Loudmouth, Sunday, 20 September 2015 11:08:20 AM
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