Historians probe links between Indonesia, indigenous Australians

Historians in the News

In the early 18th Century, Makassar, a city in the south of Indonesia's Sulawesi Island, was renowned as a major regional trading hub.

Seafarers from as far as China and the Gulf came to the port-city to trade for spices and precious metals.

The Macassans also had close links with northern Australia where they were attracted by its vast supply of lucrative sea cucumbers or trepangs.

But little else is known about the links between Macassan fishermen and indigenous Australians from the north.

In fact, those links are still evident today in the form of art, language and even architecture and were the subject of a major symposium at the Australian National University in Canberra....

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