Listed below are meanings of some terms used on this website. The meanings appear (except where indicated) in the Macquarie Concise Dictionary, Fourth Edition, University of Sydney, Australia, Reprinted 2008, or the Australian Concise Oxford Dictionary, Fifth Edition, Oxford University Press, 2009
aboriginal, adjective, of or relating to aborigines
Aboriginal, adj. 1. of or relating to the Australian Aborigines – noun, 2. an Australian Aborigine
Aborigine, n. one of the first inhabitants of a country; one of the people living in a country at the earliest period [Latin: from the beginning]
Aborigine, n. 1. a member of a tribal people, the earliest inhabitants of Australia 2. a descendant of this people …
Australia n. 1. The continent south-east of Asia, lying between the Indian and Pacific Oceans; the smallest continent in the world …
[Latin: (Terra Australis southern land)
clash, n. & v. .n. 1. b a collision, esp. with force 2. a conflict or disagreement. .v. 2. intr. collide; 3. intr. a, come into conflict or be at variance
collision, n, 2. the clashing of opposed interests or considerations
colonialism, n. the policy of a nation seeking to extend or retain its authority over other peoples or territories
colonise, verb. to plant or establish a colony in; form into a colony; settle: England colonised Australia.
colonist, n. 1. an inhabitant of a colony. 2. a member of a colonising expedition
colony, n. 1. a group of people who leave their native country to form in a new land a settlement subject to, or connected with, the parent state. 2. the country or district settled or colonised. 3. any people or territory separated from but subject to a ruling power. 4. a number of foreigners from a particular country, living in a city or country, especially in one locality: the American colony of Paris. 5. any group of individuals of similar occupation, etc. usually living in a community of their own: a colony of artists. 6. The district or quarter inhabited by such a group. 7. an aggregation of bacteria growing together as the descendants of a single cell. 8. coexisting in close association.
conflict v. to come into collision; clash, or to be in opposition or at variance; disagree. 2. contend; do battle. n. 3. a battle or struggle, especially a prolonged struggle; strife. 4. controversy or quarrel: conflicts between church and state. 5. Discord of action, feeling or effect; antagonism, as of interests or principles: a conflict of ideas. [Latin: struck together]
decolonise v. (also-ize) (of a nation) withdraw from (a colony), leaving it independent.
disperse v. 1. intr. & tr, go, send, drive, or distribute in different directions or over a wide area. 2 a intr. (of people at a meeting etc). leave and go their various ways. b tr cause to do this. c tr hist. drive Aborigines from their traditional land; exterminate.
frontier n. 1. the part of a country which borders another country; boundary; border, extreme limit
genocide n. extermination of a national or racial group as a planned move
indigenous adj. originating in or characterising a particular region or country; native …
Indigenous adj. of or relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people[s] …
invasion n. 1. the act of invading or entering as an enemy … 3. entrance as if to take possession or overrun.
massacre n. & v. 1. a general slaughter (of persons, occasionally of animals) 2. an utter defeat or destruction .v.tr. 1 make a massacre of 2. murder (esp. of a large number of people) cruelly or violently
native adj. 1. being the place or environment in which one was born or a thing came into being: one’s native land. … 3. a. Indigenous … b. being or related to those descended from the original inhabitants of a country as distinguished from its colonisers … 5. Belonging or related to one by reason of one’s birthplace or nationality: one’s native language. 6. born in a particular place or country … 12. belonging to someone as a possession by virtue of their birth: native rights. –n. someone inhabiting a place before the arrival of colonisers, etc., or a descendant of an original inhabitant; an indigenous person …
Red coat or Redcoat, n. hist. a British soldier, (so called from the scarlet uniform of most regiments). Read more on Wikipedia at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_coat_(military_uniform)
settle v. …5.a. to furnish (a place) with inhabitants or settlers: the north side of the river was soon settled. b. to provide a place to live: he settled two of his sons across the river.
settler n. 1. someone who settles in a new country, especially one who is freeborn and who takes up portions of the land for agriculture.
Terra Australis (Latin for South Land). Many centuries ago this was a hypothetical continent that existed at the bottom of the world in the Southern Hemisphere to balance land masses in the Northern Hemisphere. English explorers like James Cook, who first journeyed to this part of the world in 1770, called the separate southern continent that Europeans believed existed, ‘New Holland’. Explorer Matthew Flinders popularised the naming of the continent of Australia after ‘Terra Australis’ in the 1800s. Read more about the concept of Terra Australis and the naming of Australia on Wikipedia at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terra_Australis
terra nullius* n. 1. uninhabited territory, belonging to no state. 2. inhabited territory belonging to no state, and not held to be a state in itself, that is, having a population without a formalised political organisation or system of individual land ownership.
Torres Strait n. a stretch of water extending between Cape York Peninsula, Queensland, Australia and Papua New Guinea’s southern coast [named after Luis Váez de Torres].
Torres Strait Islands plural noun. a number of islands located in Torres Strait, inhabited by people of Melanesian origin.
– Torres Strait Islander n. adj.
War n. 1. a conflict carried out by force of arms, as between nations or states, or between parties within a state; warfare (by land, sea, or in the air). 2. a contest carried on by force of arms; as in a series of battles or campaigns. 3. active hostility or contention; conflict; contest: a war of words. 4. armed fighting, as a department of activity, a profession, or an art: war is our business – verb transitive (warred, warring). 5. To make or carry on war; fight. 6. To carry on active hostility or contention: to war with evil. 7. To be in a state of strong opposition: the two political parties are constantly warring over the economy. –adj. 8. of, belonging to, used in, or due to, war.– phrase 9. at war. in a state of hostility or active military operations. 10. In the wars. Colloquial involved in a series of misfortunes or minor injuries. [Middle English from Old French from Old High German: strife]
Australian Concise Oxford Dictionary, Fifth Edition, Oxford University Press, p. 363
The verb ‘to settle’ and the noun ‘settler’ imply the peaceful taking up of ‘empty’ ‘unused’ land devoid of people, or ‘belonging to no-one’, that is ‘terra nullius’. Aboriginal people have inhabited Australia for at least 65,000 years, even up to 80,000 years and well beyond:
- Genelle Weule for ABC Science and Felicity James for ABC Darwin, ‘Indigenous rock shelter in Top End pushes Australia’s human history back to 65,000 years’, ABC News online, 20 July 2017 at: https://www.australianarchaeologicalassociation.com.au/7000-years-of-settlement
- Helen Davidson and Calla Wahlquist, ‘Australian dig finds evidence of Aboriginal habitation up to 80,000 years ago’, The Guardian online, 20 July 2017 at: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/jul/19/dig-finds-evidence-of-aboriginal-habitation-up-to-80000-years-ago
- Paul Daley, ‘”A big jump”: People might have lived in Australia twice as long as we thought’, The Guardian, 11 March 2019 at: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/postcolonial-blog/2019/mar/11/a-big-jump-people-might-have-lived-in-australia-twice-as-long-as-we-thought
The Torres Strait islands formed about 7,000 to 8,000 years ago when sea levels began to rise. Humans were living in the Torres Strait soon after these islands formed. For more information see Jacqueline Matthews, ‘7000 Years of Human Settlement in the Western Torres Strait’, Australian Archaeological Association blog, posted 13 January 2016 at: https://www.australianarchaeologicalassociation.com.au/7000-years-of-settlement/
 Terra Nullius: this Latin expression, meaning ‘nobody’s land’ is used in international law to describe territory that has never been subject to the sovereignty of any state, or over which any prior sovereign has expressly or implicitly relinquished sovereignty. Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have very ancient cultures, languages, governance, religion and social organisation. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have never ceded sovereignty over their lands. For more information on the doctrine of terra nullius, swept away by the Australian High Court’s 1992 Mabo decision, see https://www.nfsa.gov.au/digitallearning/mabo/tn_01.shtml
Compiled by Jane Morrison 2012–2019