1788 to Today- A Timeline Of Indigenous Rights Issues

  • British Colonisation of Australia Begins

    British Colonisation of Australia Begins
    British settlers began to colonise Australia, starting in Sydney. Weeks after this the Indigenous population was hit with an assortment of European disesases.
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    Tasmanian Indigenous Population Dies Out

    The Indigenous population of Tasmania, the Palawah, had all but died out by 1870 due to killings and disease, a direct consequence of the settlers.
  • Myall Creek Massacre

    Myall Creek Massacre
    Up to 30 unarmed Indigenous Australians were slaughtered at Myall Creek, an area near Bingara in New South Wales. Two trials ensued and 7 of the 11 colonists involved were found guilty of murder and hanged.
  • Aboriginal Protection Act 1869

    The Aboriginal protection Act 1869 gave the Victorian Government's Board for the Protection of Aborigines extensive powers over the lives of indigenous Australians.
  • Half-Caste Act 1886

    This act was the beginning of the practice of removing Indigenous children from their families and forcing them to assimilate into European society.
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    Stolen Generations

    Indigenous Australian children were taken from their families and assimilated into the white lifestyle.
  • Indigenous Australian Soldiers

    Indigenous Australian Soldiers
    Roughly 800 Indigenous men enlisted to fight in World War I, despite restrictions against this. Many claimed to be Indian or Maori, however as more recruits were needed throughout the war, these restrictions were relaxed.
  • Aborigines Protection Amending Act 1915

    Aborigines Protection Amending Act 1915
    This act allowed the Aborigines' Protection Board to remove Indigenous children from their parents without having to establish that they were being mistreated or neglected in any way.
  • Indigenous Soldiers Granted Citizenship

    By the end of World War II, indigenous Australians who had served in the army were granted citizenship. Despite this, they were still required to carry papers to prove this
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    1946 Pilbara Strike

    Indigenous station workers walked off the Pastoral Stations in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, demanding human rights recognition and payment of fair wage and conditions.
  • Partial Right To Vote

    The right to vote was given to Indigenous Australians who had served in the armed forces, or were enrolled to vote in state elections.
  • Right To Vote

    Indigenous Australians were given full voting rights in federal elections by the Menzies Government.
  • Referendum for Indigenous Citizenship

    Referendum for Indigenous Citizenship
    The referendum, which was to allow Indigenous Australians full citizenship and to be included counts to determine electoral representation. It was passed with a 90% majority, the largest affirmaitve vote in the history of Australia's referendums.
  • Federal Pastoral Industry Award 1968

    Federal Pastoral Industry Award 1968
    The Federal Pastoral Industry Award of 1968 entitled Indigenous Australians to minimum wage. Prior to this, many station workers had been paid only token wages or in produce.
  • Gove Land Rights Case

    The Yolngu people of Yirrakala sought an injunction against the Nabalco mining company to cease mining occurring on their traditional land. Justice Blackburn ruled that Australia was 'terra nullius' when the settlers arrived and therefore there was no native title recognised by Australian law.
  • Aboriginal Tent Embassy

    Aboriginal Tent Embassy
    The Aboriginal Tent Embassy was established on the steps of Parliament House in Canberra, as many Indigenous Australians held the view that they were "strangers in their own country".
  • Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1975

    Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1975
    The Whitlam Government drafted the Aboriginal Land Rights Act, which sought to return traditional lands to Indigenous Australians. This did not go through as the Whitlam Government was dismissed.
  • Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1976

    Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1976
    This was less comprehensive land rights act than that of 1975, however it granted "inalienable" freehold title to some traditional lands in the Northern Territory, introduced by the coalition led by Malcolm Fraser.
  • Mabo Case Decision

    Mabo Case Decision
    The High Court of Australia declared the legal concept of "terra nullius" to be invalid, in turn legally recognising the native title of Indigenous Australians.
  • National Sorry Day

    National Sorry Day
    In response to the forced removal of Indigenous children from their families, a National Sorry Day was instituted to acknowledge the wrong done to the Indigenous population.
  • Apology For the Stolen Generations

    Apology For the Stolen Generations
    Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made a formal apology to the 'stolen generation', in a gesture to try and make amends regarding the treatment of Indigenous Australians.