The origin of these diseases remains under contention although there is strong evidence that the latter two were introduced by the Macassan
fishermen over the last 400 years and then at the turn of the last century by Chinese and Pacific Islanders (Cook 1927 cited in Kamien 1980 and Moodie 1973).
In the words of one of the passengers on the government steamer Palmerston, the sight of Macassan
trepangers made 'a very charming picture' (Searcy 1907:120).
Macknight, Campbell 1976 The Voyage to Marenge: Macassan
trepangers in Northern Australia, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne.
(9.) Recent epidemiological and historical investigations have demonstrated that, although diseases such as tuberculosis were almost certainly introduced into Australia by Europeans, the most lethal infection, smallpox, which devastated the Aboriginal population in a series of epidemics in 1789, the late 1820s and the early 1830s, was a result of contact between Aborigines and Macassan
traders in northern Australia (Campbell 2002).
She noted that there had been contact with other cultures, notably Chinese, Malay and Macassan
, prior to white settlement.
Jones' interest in the impact of iron on Aboriginal society might have led him to an examination of how this played out during at least two centuries of by no means peaceable pre-European Macassan
Coastal site types that have been dated include shell mounds, shell middens, earth mounds, artefact scatters, rock-shelters, and Macassan
, European and Chinese contact sites.
Toner, Peter 2000 'Ideology, influence and innovation: The impact of Macassan
contact on Yolngu music', Perfect Beat 5(1):22-41.
During this period several researchers examined the archaeology of contact between Macassan
trepangers and Aboriginal people on the northern Australian coastline.
In the Northern Territory, the few archaeological studies of Aboriginal 'contact period' sites include Macassan
as well as European contact sites (see Macknight 1976; Mulvaney 1989).
McIntosh addresses the historical production of mythical accounts in Yirrkala to reveal how Macassan
iron extraction was reinscribed into the Dreaming to gain symbolic control over mineral exploration.
It has images of a dugong, a macropod, a human-like male, a bark canoe with a harpoon line connecting it to a sea turtle, and a boat with three Macassan
or European figures on deck (Figure 5).