Why Terra Nullius? Anthropology and Property Law in Early Australia

  title={Why Terra Nullius? Anthropology and Property Law in Early Australia},
  author={Stuart Banner},
  journal={Law and History Review},
  pages={95 - 131}
  • Stuart Banner
  • Published 1 March 2005
  • History, Law
  • Law and History Review
The British treated Australia as terra nullius—as unowned land. Under British colonial law, aboriginal Australians had no property rights in the land, and colonization accordingly vested ownership of the entire continent in the British government. The doctrine of terra nullius remained the law in Australia throughout the colonial period, and indeed right up to 1992. 
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