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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria University, Wellington. Vol. 22, No. 6. Wednesday, June 24, 1959


No one will deny that the "assimilation" of aborigines is quite a problem in Australia (although perhaps not so grave as the race problems in South Africa and the United States). Let's be quite objective about it, and examine the factual evidence.

Coming back to the rocket range which extends through the Warburton Ranges in Western Australia. The findings of a Parliamentary Select Committee show that there have been catastrophic effects on aborigine life due to the placing of a rocket range (part of the Woomera programme) right through the land that for centuries had been the hunting and camping grounds of aborigine tribes.

The sensitive balance between natural resources and the needs of the tribe, so marvellously created by the aborigine from a land that would have been an impossible challenge to other civilisations, has been suddenly and rudely upset over a huge area surrounding the range (of course in the actual range area itself the inhabitants have been ordered right out).

The results? Actual starvation in some cases and a ghastly wave of diseases due to malnutrition over much of the area, the most common being the dreaded eye disease trachoma.

Let us leave rocket ranges and view some of the more glaring anomalies from which people of aborigine extraction suffer.

There is not the space here to treat every part of the problem in detail; we will limit ourselves mainly to our own State.