I’ve previously written about coins as evidence of contact. The ABC today has an interesting report on the use of beads by Maccassar fishermen to buy access to trepang beds of the coast of Arnhem land from the local population.
The interesting thing about these beads is that they are not South East Asian in origin and were either of Dutch, Czech or Venetian manufacture and have been found in eighteenth century sediment deposits.
Which of course is interesting as while Janszoon attempted to land in Australia as early as 1606, there was no sustained attempt at European settlement until 1788. In other words we can say fairly confidently that they have come as a result of trade, and that the Macassar fishermen must have acquired them from Dutch or Portugese spice traders and then traded them on …
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