The Tiwi and the British: an ill-fated outpost

John Morris
2011 Aboriginal History Journal  
Much has been published about the early nineteenth century settlement of Fort Dundas on Melville Island, the largest of the Tiwi Islands. In the main, the authors have argued about the reason for the British attempt to colonise this part of Northern Australia, the political or economic aspects of the settlement's disastrous history or the circumstances of convict labour around the fort. 1 The relationship between the Indigenous people of the islands and the Europeans in the settlement has
more » ... ettlement has attracted less historical research and what has been written is somewhat limited. 2 This paper aims to explore, on the available evidence, the attempts to bring about peace between the Tiwi and the colonisers. Ultimately the result of those attempts was one of the factors contributing to the demise of the settlement. It must be emphasised that while the British presence in the islands remains in the Tiwi memory, in my observation that memory is limited to specific incidents and matters relating to that era. The evidence about the relationship between the British and the Tiwi is therefore overwhelmingly restricted to European sources.
doi:10.22459/ah.25.2011.16 fatcat:cyeupkde7bc6llxnexqrzpjsbm