Personally, I have known that Aboriginal trade with Asians happened well before the British invaded Australia. Clues of Aboriginal trade with Indonesian fisherman have been found over the decades and a new study into Aboriginal trade with Asians provides more evidence of this. For example, a tree native to Indonesia found growing in Australia and bits and pieces of broken Asian style pottery have been found over time.
Dr Souter is part of a research team from the West Australian Museum and the University of Western Australia, working with the Kwini people to try to piece together the little-known trepang industry of the 1700s and 1800s. Souter tells ABC News:
“This contact was happening prior to colonisation of this part of the northern coast, so it’s an Asian industry working with Aboriginal traditional owners.
“I think we’re going to get some really interesting outcomes.”
There is evidence which shows Indonesian fisherman camping in areas now known as the Kimberley and Northern Territory for months at a time trading and catching sea cucumbers to trade with Chinese merchants who saw these sea creatures as an aphrodisiacs’. What is interesting about this new study is that it is the first study of the sort in 50 years, and as Kwini man Ian Waina tells the ABC:
“They were doing a lot of trading with our people; we didn’t have canoes until they came here.
“Aboriginal people, we taught them how to survive, we shared our knowledge.”
We are definitely looking forward to reading more from this new study.
Images via ABC News
To read the original article, please click on: New study reveals history of Aboriginal trade with foreign visitors before British settlement