Fatal Contact explores the devastating infectious diseases introduced into the Indigenous populations of Australia after the arrival of the British colonists in 1788. Epidemics of smallpox, tuberculosis, influenza, measles and sexually transmitted diseases swept through the Indigenous populations of the continent well into the twentieth century. The consequences still echo today in Aboriginal health and life expectancy. Many historians have acknowledged that introduced diseases caused much sickness and mortality among the Aboriginal populations and were part of the huge population decline following colonisation. But few writers have elaborated further, and much of this history is still missing, even after more than 200 years. Our knowledge and understanding of the biological consequences surrounding the meeting and contact of these two cultures has not yet been fully investigated. What the investigation in Fatal Contact reveals is nothing short of the greatest human tragedy in the long history of Australia. This is a vitally important story that all Australians should read.
Publication Date: 01-Jul-2021
Publisher: Monash University Publishing