Was European Settlement in Australia an ‘Invasion’?

The following is purely the opinion of the author, Joey Mann. This article may not represent the views of Skymann as a whole.

News Corp. is reporting that the University of New South Wales has started referring to Captain James Cook’s discovery of the Australian continent and later the colonisation of Australia as an invasion. This has, rather unsurprisingly, pissed off shock-jocks and right-wing commentators.

Sky News (which is partly owned by the Rupe-Troop) referred to the entry in a history guide as the university ‘rewriting history’. Although those making these comments seem to forget that the word ‘invasion’ actually has a meaning.

The Daily Telegraph published in their (extremely biased) headline article that Keith Windschuttle, a historian said that “Until the law changes, there is no sound basis on which to say ‘invaded’.”. Exactly, it doesn’t have a basis in law. It actually has basis in the English language in which that comment was published.

Google’s dictionary lists three definitions of invasion, which can be combined and summed together as: “an incursion by a large number of people in to a place, especially when accompanied by an armed force and when unwanted by those at the invaded location”. 

The First Fleet carried ~1,330 people to Sydney Cove on British Naval ships, and while those on the ships were pretty quickly (within 3 years) the indigenous residents started to resist. It’s obvious that a large number of people travelled to a place (Sydney Cove), accompanied by an armed force who were not wanted by the Aboriginal Australians in Sydney.

By definition, the British settlement of Australia was an invasion.

That isn’t up for debate.