Human rights and wrongs

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By Christina Bakerteacher, writer and educational journalist

Help children to understand the historical background to the racial tensions that exist in modern Australia

Australia is a diverse, multicultural nation. Its population originates from more than 170 countries around the world, mostly from the UK and Europe. About 60% of Australians are of mixed ethnicity.

Australia’s indigenous people are believed to have inhabited the country for over 40,000 years and currently make up around 2% of the population. Prior to European settlement in 1788, there were hundreds of tribes throughout the country. Most were semi-nomadic hunter-gatherers with a rich culture and deep spiritual connection to their land. Following the arrival of Europeans, the indigenous population was reduced by an estimated 90%. Aborigines had no tolerance to European diseases. Many were forced off their territory and tribes were slaughtered by settlers. Tension still surrounds the initial treatment of Aborigines and subsequent government policies.

Ages 7-11

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