Chained by the neck and starving: Photos show reality of Aboriginal life post-colonisation

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Photos archived by the State Library of Western Australia show how Aboriginal people were chained together by the necks and malnourished during the early days of colonisation.

The images capture the cruel treatment of Indigenous Australians in the late 1800s; men shackled by chains around the neck, wearing just underwear and looking severely malnourished.

Australia Day was celebrated yesterday, January 26, across the ditch - and it has been contested for years, accused of disregarding what the day means for Aboriginal Australians.

They were chained together and only wore cloths over their genitals.
They were chained together and only wore cloths over their genitals. Photo credit: State Library of Western Australia.

For many Aboriginal people, the day - renamed by some as 'Invasion Day' - marks the anniversary of the arrival of the first fleet of British ships into Australia, and the beginning of the genocide of the Aboriginal population.

Photos from national archives show how aboriginal men were chained together before being sold off or taken to work camps as slaves by white European colonisers in the late 1800s.

Whole collections of photos taken at the time paint the same picture of groups of Aboriginal people shackled together as white men stand guard.

A group chained by the neck as a white man stands guard on the left.
A group chained by the neck as a white man stands guard on the left. Photo credit: State Library of Western Australia.

Australia Day celebrations were met with thousands of protestors in major cities in Australia this year, with more than 3000 marching in the Sydney and Melbourne heat.

The protest against Australia Day has grown in the past few years, from a few hundred in 2015 to thousands in 2019.

"With all our Australians getting together like this, I think it's sending a really clear message that Australians want to have a different conversation about our national day," one man told Yahoo7 News.

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