Parts of my own thesis about the influence of the Muslims from Macassar on Aboriginal culture of Northern Australia:
from: Chapter 1 Macassan Cultural Influence on Aborigines
...Prior to being banned from Australia in 1908, thousands of Macassans visited Australia annually on monsoon winds in order to trade and gather pearls and trepang. Over the centuries they affected the culture of Aborigines that they traded with. They showed Aborigines along Australia’s northern coast a wider world, and demonstrated to them that there were foreign people of different colour who could be dealt with, and such relationships could be managed to the benefit of Aborigines. The sophistication, confidence, and knowledge attained though this relationship was observed and commented upon by European explorers and settlers. The contact between Macassan traders and Aborigines took place over a long time and was geographically widespread, although more concentrated in areas like East Arnhem Land and Napier Broome Bay. The influence of the contact on Aboriginal culture and technology was profound. The Macassan traders affected Aboriginal culture, religion, language, economy, and technology, as well as affecting Aboriginal expectations of foreign visitors...
...[Historian] Derek Mulvaney is critical of ‘Europocentric’ historians who ignore the effect of Asians on Australian history, singling out Andrew Sharp’s statement in The Discovery of Australia, that Asian ‘knowledge made no impact on the world at large or on the history of Australia.’5 Mulvaney considered the influence of Macassans on Aboriginal culture to be strong, arguing that:
[Anthropologist] Mulvaney also described the effect of the relationship between the Macassans and Aborigines in these terms:"Anthropologists have demonstrated convincingly that during the Macassan era, there were complex influences on aboriginal society which made a fundamental contribution to…ceremonial, material culture and language of Arnhem Land." 6
“It is now recognised that its impact upon coastal Aboriginal society was profound. In addition to such material contributions such as the dug-out canoe and sail and metal implements, which probably enabled a more successful exploitation of the environment, the influence was all pervading.”7
Peter Worsley, who conducted field research in Groote Eylandt in1952-3 for the Australian National University, considered the Macassan relationship influential on the religious and social organisation of Aborigines on Groote Eylandt, as well as affecting the way they evaluated their past 8:
…the trepang expeditions can hardly have failed to make a considerable impact on the life of the Australian aborigines, on their economy and their social organization, as well as on their ideas and beliefs…
…The world-view of the aborigines was greatly widened, not merely by direct contact with the Malay sailors, but also by first-hand experience of Indonesia itself, since many aborigines took employment in the vessels of the visitors, and thus visited the Celebes…and other parts of Indonesia for quite lengthy periods. 9
Anthropologist Donald Thomson, who conducted research in Arnhem Land in the 1930’s, considered that the Macassans set a benchmark for conduct of foreign visitors in Arnhem Land:
Historian Alan Powell argues that the impact of large numbers of Macassan traders visiting Australia may be the reason why the Northern Territory’s coastal Aborigines were better able to cope with European attempts of colonisation:These visiting voyagers from Indonesia exercised a profound influence on the natives of Arnhem Land, which can be seen to this day. They established a good working relationship with the people and they left behind a tradition of respect amounting to hero worship which still remains.[/B] There is no doubt that failure to appreciate the history of Arnhem Land has been responsible for the extreme hostility which the white man and the Japanese met subsequently in this area. Visiting seafarers were expected to conform to the pattern of conduct which had been established, which included a respect for the integrity of the women, and to recognize also the territorial and other rights of the natives, as the Macassar trepang fishermen had done. Too much stress was laid by the white man on the primitive and savage disposition of the people, whereas we know now that as a result of their long contact with overseas visitors of a more advanced culture, they were more sophisticated than any other Australian aborigines, a fact which was noted by Matthew Flinders nearly a century and a half ago. 10
Anthropologist Ian Crawford has written that Islamic beliefs such as the existence of Allah, the unity of mankind, and the existence of a universal law for mankind ‘provided Yolngu with a means of both comprehending and coping with developments’ that came with dealing with outsiders. Crawford argues that these beliefs have been used by Yolngu as “a conceptual weapon…in the struggle against domination against the ‘Other’.’12 Berndt and Berndt argue that contact with Macassans prepared Arnhem Landers, in some measure, for the cultural clash with Europeans.13The regular visits of a thousand men, or more, from another culture could not help but affect the lives of coastal Arnhem Landers…The second great influence of the Macassans lies in the conditioning of their hosts to the impact of alien life forces. Almost alone amongst the Australian Aborigines, the coastal Arnhem Landers had long and continuous experience of coping with outsiders before the coming of the British. That experience may help to explain why some were able to withstand so well the tremendous pressures which were put upon them in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. 11
Crawford writes that ‘fleets of perahus sailing to the northern coasts of Australia in search of bêche-de mer opened to Aborigines a vision of a wider world.’ 14 The visitors from the East Indies opened up a wider world to Aborigines they visited, not just through their own presence, but by employing Aborigines to work on their perahus which took them around the northern Australian coast and sometimes even to the East Indies Islands to the north. Charley Djaladari, told Berndt and Berndt of what he had seen at Makassar:
In 1841, Port Essington settler, George Earl, remarked upon the Aborigines who were seen travelling with the Macassans in their praus:‘We saw so many things…the Balanda white men, with horses and carts and big houses and strange looking clothes …there were stone houses…there were so many people, and I couldn’t see them all’
Berndt and Berndt noted that those Aborigines that had returned from such a journey ‘liked to talk of their journey through the islands to Macassar, and around the camp fires stories were told and songs were composed about what they had seen.’ 17Nearly every prahu on leaving, the coast takes two or three natives to Macassar, and brings them back next season. 16
Groote Eylandt elder Galiawa Nalanbayayaya Wurramarrba narrates how his father travelled to Makassar:They sing…of the Macassan wharfs; of the rice fields; money; the making of iron; the cutting of timber; the making of proas…of their houses, and so on; all the colorful life of an East Indies town is related in the poetic aboriginal songs… 18
My father often used to tell me stories of the Macassan days. He went away with them when he was a young boy. Wanabadi the Macassan took him and he was away for four [years]. 19
5 D J Mulvaney, The Prehistory of Australia, Thames and Hudson, London, 1969, pp. 19-20.
6 D Mulvaney, 'Beche-de-Mer, Aborigines and Australian History', Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria, vol. 79, 196, p.454.
7 Mulvaney, The prehistory of Australia, p. 39.
8 P Worsley, Early Asian Contacts with Australia, Past and Present, vol. 7, 1955, pp. 6.
9 Ibid, pp3-5.
10 D Thomson, Arnhem Land: explorations among an unknown people, Geographical Journal, Vol. 112, 1948, pp.146-7.
11 A Powell, Far Country: a short history of the Northern Territory, Charles Darwin University Press, Darwin, 2009, pp.30-1.
12 I McIntosh, Can We Be Equal In Your Eyes?: a perspective on reconciliation from northeast Arnhem Land, PhD thesis, Northern Territory University, 1996, p214.
13 R Berndt, & C Berndt, Arnhem Land: its history and its people, F. W. Cheshire, Melbourne, 1954, p.70-1.
14 I Crawford, We Won the Victory: Aborigines and outsiders on the north-west coast of the Kimberley, Fremantle Arts Centre Press, Fremantle, 2001, p.97.
15 Berndt & Berndt, Arnhem Land…, p.56-8.
16 G, W, Earl, 'An account of a visit to Kisser, one of the Serawatti group in the Indian archipelago’, Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, vol. 11, 1841, p.116
17 Berndt & Berndt, Arnhem Land…, p.50.
18 R Berndt & C Berndt, ‘Secular figures of Northeastern Arnhem Land’, American Anthropologist, vol. 51, issue 2, 1949, p.216.
19 G Wurramarrba, & J Stokes, (trans.) in K Cole, (ed.) Groote Eylandt Stories; changing patterns of life among the Aborigines on Groote Eylandt, Church Missionary Historical Publications, Melbourne, 1972, p. 32.
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28-May-2012 12:03 PMSingapore: oppresses Muslims, bans athaan, bans hijab in schools, prevents building of madrassahs or muslim schools, puts limit on the percentage of Muslims allowed in each apartment building, and bans Muslims from joining Singapore's elite military forces. Singapore; Israel's best buddy!
28-May-2012 12:35 PM
Urry and Walsh argue that there must have been a substantial influence on Aborigines who visited the East Indies.20 This opinion is supported by Earl’s 1846 observation regarding Aborigines returning from Makassar:
A considerable number have paid one or more visits to Macassar, residing there for months together, which has familiarized them with the language and manners of the people of that country… 21
Described a very good run of blacks (in the Gulf of Carpentaria as well as I could make out) who wore clothes spoke a little Malay…never stole from them and made themselves useful in various ways helping them to get wood water turtle etc….Several had been at Macassar probably 100 of them, some were there now. They were useful sailors…The parts they inhabited was from two to four days sail about as far as from Port Essington to Timor… 22
On 7 May 1829 six praus appeared. 'In the last prau,' Barker recorded, 'I understood there were four…blacks who were going to Macassar.'” 23 Certainly, in the last days of the Macassan trade there were many Aborigines visiting Macassar and even living there as Charley Djaladjari told Berndt and Berndt in the 1940’s:
When we reached…the port of Macassans the big boss named Karei Deintumbo…came down to the wharf…my boss Wonabadi…said to him “I’ve got some boys here” – referring to my companions and myself. “All right,” Deintumbo replied. “I’ll take all these men, and they can come to my place to sleep and have food.” He gave us money and we went with him. Near where I stayed several countrymen of mine [Aborigines] were living. 24
A few have been converted to Mohammedanism; one of these, Caraday, a chief of one of Goulbourn's Islands, visited us soon after our arrival at Port Essington. He had been circumcised, and refused to eat pork. 27
Some Aboriginal went with them. Some stayed there and married Makassan women and then came back. Some Makassans married Aboriginal women and took them back to Indonesia. 32
In East Arnhem Land the attitude of Aborigines towards inter-gender relations was affected by the culture and attitude of the traders. In South Sulawesi, there are cultural boundaries between women and men who are not close relatives.34 This influence on Aboriginal culture was observed by Warner observed that in the East of Arnhem Land, Aborigines were protective of their wives and did not like to share their wives with others.35 Berndt and Berndt also noted that in areas where the cultural influence of the East Indies traders was greatest, such as in Groote Eylandt, women were segregated from men, and were jealously guarded from European and Japanese intruders. Women in these areas also had a notion of physical modesty, covering their private parts. In East Arnhem Land, and on Groote Eylandt, European explorers and missionaries noticed that Aboriginal women did not mix with strangers, and went to the bother of covering their private parts. A newspaper article regarding Arnhem Land in 1934 describes inter-gender relations on Groote Eylandt:
…according to missionaries interviewed…The islanders keep their women hidden from strangers…there is said to be definite evidence of a Malay strain in the [coastal] aborigines, so that they have not lived in the simple isolation of the inland tribes. They have developed a business sense, and have been traders for generations. 36
In 1803 Flinders noted at Caledon Bay, in northeast Arnhem Land, that the only female that could see ‘wore a small piece of bark, in guise of a fig leaf.’37 Crawford that in the Kimberley an elderly man who died in the 1970’s had earlier informed his translator that he had seen an Aboriginal woman that on a trepanging boat wearing a grass or fabric skirt.38 This is likely to have been a result of the influence of Southeast Asian Islamic thought affecting Aboriginal culture. Intermarriage would have helped to spread cultural ideas about women. This attitude toward women is contrasted in the East coast of Australia where Aboriginal women could be seen by early explorers such as Captain James Cook who wrote:
The natives of this country…go quite naked both men and women without any manner of Cloathing whatever, even the women do not so much as cover their privities. 39
In the 1940’s Berndt and Berndt noticed that venereal disease was rare in eastern Arnhem Land, whereas it was more prevalent in Western Arnhem Land, which had less influence from the Macassans.44 In Western Arnhem Land, the Goulbourn Island Mission authorities had stated that in the 1940’s, 80 per cent of the population had been infected with venereal disease.45 The Aborigines in Western Arnhem Land informed Berndt and Berndt that they did not suffer from venereal disease in the days of early Macassan contact.46 Venereal disease seems to have been introduced at the time of European contact.47 Dr Cecil Strangman, Protector of Aborigines for the Northern Territory in 1908 considered Europeans to be the source of gonorrhoeal infections.48 Considering the devastating effect sexually transmitted diseases had on Aborigines population levels in other parts of Australia through its often resulting infertility, it is likely that the practice of segregating women from strangers saved the East Arnhem Land from a significant drop in population that had occurred in Aboriginal communities elsewhere. Another aspect of introduced Macassan culture was observed by John Lort Stokes, an officer onboard the HMS Beagle, who found that Aboriginal inhabitants of Arnhem Land possessed clothing, which he had not seen elsewhere in Australia:
Hanging on trees round these habitations, were specimens of an article of clothing, never before seen among the Aborigines of Australia…It is a kind of covering…made from coarse grass. 49
I have since heard from Mr. Earl, that the women in the S.E. part of Van Diemen's Gulf [Arnhem Land], occasionally wear a covering round their waist, somewhat similar to the [clothing that Stokes had found]. 50
20 Urry & Walsh, p. 94.
21 G W Earl, Enterprise in tropical Australia, London, 1846, p. 118.
22 C Barker, Joumal at Raffles Bay, 13 Sep 1828 - 29 Aug 1829, NSW Archives, 912747 SR Reel 2654.
24 Berndt & Berndt, Arnhem Land…, p.56.
25 Ibid, p.60.
26 Urry & Walsh, p. 94.
27 G W Earl, 'An account of a visit to Kisser, one of rhe Serawatti group in the Indian archipelago, Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, vol. 11, 1841, p.116.
28 Berndt, & Berndt, Arnhem Land…, p.6.
29 Ibid, p.28-9.
31 Ibid, pp.56-7.
32 B Ganambarr, ‘My Grandfather Used to Tell Me Stories About Makassans’, cited in Cooke, M, Makassar & north east Arnhem Land : missing links & living bridges, Batchelor College, Batchelor College report on a Makassan field study, June 1986, Darwin, 1987, p.15.
33 Berndt & Berndt, Arnhem Land…, p.14.
34 C Pelras, The Bugis, Blackwell, UK, 1996, p.161-5.
35 W L Warner, A Black Civilization: A study of an Australian tribe, Harper Torchwood, New York, 1964, p. 459.
36 ‘Darkest Arnhem Land’, Courier Mail, 4 January 1934, p.5.
37 M Flinders, A voyage to Terra Australis, G.and W. Nicol, 1814, vol. II, p. 212.
39J Cook, Captain Cook's Journal During the First Voyage Round the World, Gutenberg Project, August 25, 2004, <http://www.gutenberg.org/files/8106/8106-h/8106-h.htm>, (accessed 4th April 2010).
40 Warner, p. 476.
41 Ibid, p. 459.
42 Ibid, p. 476.
43 Thomson, D, Report on Expedition to Arnhem Land, 1936-7, L. F Johnston Commonwealth Government Printer, Canberra, 1939, p.15.
44 Berndt, R, & Berndt, p.25-8.
45 Ibid, p.31.
48 Ibid, p.30
49 J L Stokes, Discoveries in Australia; with an account of the coasts and rivers explored and surveyed during the voyage of the H.M.S. Beagle, in the years 1837-38-39-40-41-42-43, vol I, T. and W. Boone, London, 1846, p. 406.
50 Ibid.Singapore: oppresses Muslims, bans athaan, bans hijab in schools, prevents building of madrassahs or muslim schools, puts limit on the percentage of Muslims allowed in each apartment building, and bans Muslims from joining Singapore's elite military forces. Singapore; Israel's best buddy!
28-May-2012 12:43 PM
Wiil post some more later inshaa AllahSingapore: oppresses Muslims, bans athaan, bans hijab in schools, prevents building of madrassahs or muslim schools, puts limit on the percentage of Muslims allowed in each apartment building, and bans Muslims from joining Singapore's elite military forces. Singapore; Israel's best buddy!