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Illness, Disease and 18th Century Indigenous Australians

            Diseases and illnesses brought horror and mass genocide to many indigenous Australians when Europeans firstly settled in Sydney. In the winter of 1788 one year after the first fleet had arrived in Botany Bay, an outbreak of diseases spread throughout the newly discovered country of Australia. Many Europeans and Indigenous people died from treacherous diseases and illnesses such as influenza, small pox, bubonic plague, diphtheria, typhoid and many others. Some people wonder how or why someone would bring such illnesses to a newly found nation or how they prevented or exterminated these sicknesses. Many towns and communities where affected by this downfall, and the majority of each Aboriginal colony were impacted on badly and that led to a shrinking population.
             Theories about who or what brought these diseases to Australia in the first place, such as 'the First Fleet Theory' which proposes that that when the first fleet arrived in Sydney cove, Captain Watkin Tench a British marine officer had noticed that during their stay there was a significant increase in sickness amongst indigenous Australians. Tench was very confused as when and how these cruel diseases came about or spontaneously appeared when the first fleet entered Botany Bay. Tench discovered that the diseases could have been brought over in small vials on the first fleet but then realised that this could not be possibly true; "It is true that our surgeons had brought out various matter in bottles, but to infer that the [The smallpox epidemic] was produced from this cause was a supposition so wild as to be unworthy of consideration." {An account from Captain Watkin Tench in 1793}. Some historians believed that these vials were brought to Australia to exterminate the Aboriginals. More theories such as 'The Macassan Theory', proposed that such deadly diseases were brought over to Australia via Macassan traders from Indonesia.

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