A True Aboriginal History Timeline

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  • Cooks -Possession

    Cooks -Possession
    On the 20th April 1770 Captain Cook, on the Endeavour, sighted the eastern coast of Australia. On the 29th April, the endeavour entered Botany bay. After an encounter with local people, Cook wrote in his journal "all they seem'd to want was us to be gone'. He charts the eastern coast up to "Possession Island" at the top of Cape York and claims it for England and calls it NSW.
  • Invasion Day

    Invasion Day
    Invasion Day The arrival of the first fleet, Captain Arthur Phillip took formal possession of the colony of New South Wales and raised the British flag for the first time in Sydney Cove.
    Most Australians celebrate Australia Day as the day Australia was founded.In contrast, Aboriginal people mourn their history and call it ‘Invasion Day’.
  • King forbids injustice towards Aboriginals

    King forbids injustice towards Aboriginals
    Proclamation stating: "His Majesty forbids any act of injustice or wanton cruelty to the Natives, yet the settler is not to suffer his property to be invaded or his existence endangered by them, in preserving which he is to use the effectual, but at the same time the most humane, means of resisting such attacks". Shortly after this, Pemulwuy is shot by two settlers.
  • Controlling free movement of Aboriginals

    Controlling free movement of Aboriginals
    Macquarie announces a set of regulations controlling the free movement of Aboriginal people. No Aboriginal person is to appear armed within a mile of any settlement and no more than six Aboriginal people are allowed to 'lurk or loiter near farms'.
  • Batman Treaty

    Batman Treaty
    On the banks of the Merri Creek (today’s Northcote suburb of Melbourne) John Batman claims eight clan leaders of what he called the Dutigullar tribe sign a treaty for two tracts of land totalling approximately 243,000 hectares. It is not recognised by Governor Bourke. Batman offers blankets, knives, mirrors, tomahawks, scissors, clothing and flour in return. Today’s scholars dispute that people who have never held a pen, nor practised writing, signed the document.
  • The colonisers ignore report, and continue to claim Indigenous land

    The colonisers ignore report, and continue to claim Indigenous land
    The Report of the Select Committee of the House of Commons on the Aborigines of the British Settlements (North America, Africa, and Australasia) concludes that local legislatures are ‘unfit’ to exercise jurisdiction over Aboriginal peoples and their lands. The colonisers ignore the report, and continue to claim Indigenous land as their own.
  • The Aboriginal Cricket Team

    The Aboriginal Cricket Team
    The first Australian cricket team to tour overseas was an Aboriginal team that went to England. They were led by English entrepreneur, Charles Lawrence, who gathered the team from sheep shearing stations in Victoria and smuggled them out of the country against the wishes of the Aborigines Protection Board. The team played 47 matches between May and October, winning 14 of them.
  • Aborigines Welfare Board

    Aborigines Welfare Board
    The Board for the Protection of Aborigines was established it functioned without any statutory power until the Aborigines Protection Act 1909. Under this Act the board was enlarged and given the duty 'to exercise a general supervision and care over all matters affecting the interests and welfare of Aborigines, to protect them against injustice, imposition and fraud.' The Board wrote regulations for the management of Aboriginal Stations. There role was to distribute rations, clothing and huts.
  • Federation

    Federation - The Commonwealth Constitution states "in reckoning the numbers of people… Aboriginal natives shall not be counted". It also states that the Commonwealth would legislate for any race except Aboriginal people. This leaves the power over Aboriginal Affairs with the states. Aboriginal people are excluded from the vote, pensions, employment in post offices, enlistment in armed forces and maternity allowance.
  • The White Australia Policy

    The White Australia Policy
    The White Australia Policy was introduced in when Federation was also introduced. Many white-Australians were convinced of their own racial superiority and concerned about losing their jobs to an influx of non-white workers. They believed that a restrictive immigration policy was the only way to ensure a secure future. The policy favoured applicants from certain countries. The act was later abolished in 1975 with the introduction of the racial discrimination Act. In fact this policy condoned racial discrimination.
  • Albert Namatjira 1902-1959

    Albert Namatjira 1902-1959
    Albert Namatjira was a famous Indigenous Artist and was born on the 28th of July 1902 and died on the 8th August 1959. His artwork was said to be the foundation of Indigenous Artwork. Albert was the person that ‘bridged the gap’ between Indigenous and white people as he was an Aboriginal who held same rights and powers that the white people did. He was one of the first Aboriginals to be granted citizenship.
  • The Canning Stock Route

    The Canning Stock Route
    The Canning Stock Route, a 1850-kilometre long track running between Halls Creek and Wiluna in WA Canning use Aboriginal people to lead him to the water. He took neck chains and handcuffs with him to ensure that his local Aboriginal ‘guides’ stayed with the party for as long as he needed them, they were chained up overnight. It was largely with the help of these Aboriginal people that the expedition was successful in finding the water to supply the route. In 1908 he returned to build the wells.
  • Aboriginal People Fight in the War 1

    Aboriginal People Fight in the War 1
    Over 400 Aboriginal people serve in the war despite the Defence Act 1909 which prohibits any person not of ‘substantially European’ origin from serving. Aboriginal soldiers are among Australian troops at Gallipoli.
  • Aborigines Protection Amending Act 1915 (NSW)

    Aborigines Protection Amending Act 1915 (NSW)
    Aborigines Protection Amending Act 1915 (NSW) gave the NSW Aborigines Protection Board the power to assume control and custody of Aboriginal children if it believed this action to be in the moral or physical interest of the child, and to remove the child to "such care and control as it thinks best" without a court hearing. This power is repealed in 1940, when the Board is renamed the Aborigines Welfare Board.
  • Coniston Massacre

    Coniston Massacre
    Coniston Massacre in the Northern Territory was the last known massacre of Aboriginals, official records at the time stated that 31 people were killed, but Aboriginals believe that up to 170 died between 14 August and 18 October 1928. The massacre occurred in revenge for the death of dingo hunter Frederick Brooks. A court of inquiry stated the Europeans' action was justified.
  • The Assimilation Policy

    The Assimilation Policy
    The federal government convenes the Australian Conference for Native Welfare,They officially adopts a policy of ‘assimilation’ for Aboriginal people. Aboriginal people of mixed descent are to be assimilated into white society whether they want to be or not, those not living tribally are to be educated and all others are to stay on reserves. In practice, assimilation policies lead to the destruction of Aboriginal identity,culture, dispossession and the removal of Aboriginal children.
  • Myall Creek Massacre

    Myall Creek Massacre
    About 40 Kwiambal people were killed in the Myall Creek by a group of stockmen and squatters who were seeking revenge for cattle losses. Despite the fact that this group of old men, women and children had no involvement, the men killed them in cold blood. Governor Gipps ordered an investigation; seven of the men were found guilty of murder and sentenced to hang. There was anger among the settlers over the government decision to prosecute. The only massacres were whites were charged and punished.
  • Albert Namatjira - 1st Exhibition

    Albert Namatjira - 1st Exhibition
    <a href='http://www.artistsfootsteps.com/html/Namatjira_1938cat_fineart.htm' >Albert Namatjira</a>, an Aboriginal painter holds his first exhibition in Melbourne. All 41 works are sold in three days. He combines European painting techniques (mainly watercolours) with subject matter from his native land.
  • The Cummeragunja Walk-off.

    The Cummeragunja Walk-off.
    The Cummeragunja Walk-off The first-ever mass strike of Aboriginal people in Australia occurs, called the Cummeragunja Walk-off. Over 150 Aboriginal people pack-up and leave Cummeragunja Aboriginal Station in protest at the cruel treatment and exploitation of residents by the management. They walk 66kms and cross the border from New South Wales into Victoria in contravention of the rules of the New South Wales Protection Board. This protest showed the strength and organisational skills of Aboriginal people.
  • First Aboriginal Pilot

    First Aboriginal Pilot
    19-year old Len Waters was the first Aboriginal military pilot to be accepted into the Royal Australian Air Force. He is also the only Aboriginal fighter pilot to server during World War II. Len left the air force in 1946 and died in 1993 aged 69.
  • Exemption Certificate introduced from Aborigine Act:

    Exemption Certificate introduced from Aborigine Act:
    Exemption Certificate “dog tags” they were issued to Aboriginal people, but they then ceased to be classed as Aboriginals. Those who wished to be part of white society were forced to cut themselves off from their family, kin, place of birth, culture, and indeed, their Aboriginal identity, it was the only opportunity to overcome poverty, gain work and access to education and social welfare benefits.
  • Aboriginal Education Denied

    Aboriginal Education Denied
    On the 2nd October 1944, NSW, children of any Aboriginal securing an Exemption Certificate were allowed to be admitted to the ordinary public school, but in NSW they denied Aboriginal children entrance into school if white parents had objections this happened up until the 1970’s.
  • Nationality and Citizenship Act

    Nationality and Citizenship Act
    The Commonwealth government passed the Nationality and Citizenship Act under which all Australians were granted citizenship of their country of Australia. This Act was the first to recognise Aboriginal people as natural-born Australians rather than as ‘aliens’. However, all Australian citizens were also British subjects and had to declare their nationality as British.
  • Aboriginal Citizenship Commenced 1949

    Aboriginal Citizenship Commenced 1949
    In 1948, the Nationality and Citizenship Act conferred the status of citizen on all people born in Australia. However the Act did not bestow any rights on Aboriginals. In 1949, the Commonwealth amended the Electoral Act to make it comply with the original provisions of section 41 of the Constitution. But at state level they still suffer legal discrimination. This then leads to the slow adaption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights formed by the United Nation.
  • Atomic Tests

    Atomic Tests
    Atomic tests were conducted on Maralinga lands at Emu Field, South Australia. They were code named Operation Totem. Further atom tests followed in 1956 at Maralinga, South Australia - Operation Buffalo. A black cloud passes and hundreds of families are forced to leave their homelands because of severe contamination. The Maralinga site was inhabited by the Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara Aboriginal peoples, for whom it had a "great spiritual significance".
  • The first Moomba festival in Melbourne

    The first Moomba festival in Melbourne
    The first Moomba festival was held in Melbourne. The name for the festival came from Aboriginal people at Cormanderk who suggested the name ‘moomba’, telling officials it meant ‘let’s get together and have fun’. The word actually means ‘up your bum’ but continues to be used as the title of this annual carnival. It is celebrated annually during the Labour Day long weekend (over four days, from Friday to the second Monday in March).
  • Freedom Rides

    Freedom Rides
    Freedom Ride In 1965, Charles Perkins led a group of university students on a journey around Australia, informing the general population of the injustices that had and were being committed to Aboriginal people via a stolen bus. This was significant for a as it helped to spread the message of injustice to everyday white people by drawing attention to themselves in driving around a big white stolen bus.
  • Charles Perkins graduated from University

    Charles Perkins graduated from University
    Charles Perkins graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Sydney in 1966; the first Aboriginal man to graduate from University. A distinguished alumnus of the University of Sydney, Charles Perkins worked across boundaries to create room for new opportunities, and reached beyond traditional limitations to find solutions.
  • Commonwealth Referendum

    Commonwealth Referendum
    The Commonwealth Referendum A referendum is held to change clauses in the Federal Constitution which discriminate against Aboriginal people. Nearly 91 per cent of Australians vote ‘yes’ for change, and as a result Aboriginal people are included in the Census and legislation concerning the welfare of Aborigines passes from State to Commonwealth government.
  • Lionel Rose

    Lionel Rose
    Lionel Rose Australian boxing great theLionel Rose, first Aboriginal boxer to win a world title,
    Rose, beat Japan's Fighting Harada in Tokyo in 1968 to win the world bantamweight title
  • Aborigines Act 1969

    Aborigines Act 1969
    Aborigine Act Abolition of Aborigines Welfare Board. Aboriginal children under the care of the Aborigines Welfare Board to become wards of the State. Aboriginal children's institutions deemed to be depots under child welfare legislation. Establishment of Aboriginal Welfare Services in the Department of Child Welfare and Social Welfare. The Directorate of Aboriginal Welfare and the Aborigines Advisory Council are established.
  • NSW Aboriginal Legal Service is formed.

    NSW Aboriginal Legal Service is formed.
    The Aboriginal Legal Service was established at Redfern. Gary Foley, Paul Coe, Mum Shirl (Shirley Smith) and Gordon Briscoe are among those involved. The new legal service is able to raise its own funds and where necessary arrange for free legal services and representation for any Aboriginal person in need.
  • The Aboriginal Flag

    The Aboriginal Flag
    The Aboriginal Flagwas designed by Harold Thomas, a Luritja man from Central Australia. It was created as a symbol of unity and national identity for Aboriginal people during the land rights movement of the early 1970s. The flag was chosen as the official flag for the Aboriginal Tent Embassy and was first flown there in 1972.
    In 1995, the Australian Government proclaimed the flag as an official 'Flag of Australia'.
  • Aboriginal Medical Service

    Aboriginal Medical Service
    The AMS is established at a meeting involving people who are concerned about Aboriginal health in Redfern. At the meeting are Shirley Smith, Sister Ignatius Jenkins from the St Vincent’s Hospital, Gordon Briscoe, Dulcie Flower, Professor Fred Hollows, Ross McKenna, John Russell from South Sydney Community Aid, Paul Coe from the Aboriginal Legal Service and Eddie Neumann. They decide to set up a shop front Aboriginal Medical Service at 171 Regent Street Redfern. Where the Legal service began.
  • The Aboriginal Embassy Established

    The Aboriginal Embassy Established
    Four Aboriginal men (Michael Anderson, Billy Craigie, Tony Coorey and Bertie Williams) arrived in Canberra to establish the Aboriginal Embassy by planting a beach umbrella on the lawn of Parliament House. In the first six months Aboriginal people united in demanding uniform national land rights. Others associated with the Embassy demonstration include Paul Coe, Gary Foley, Chicka Dixon. The Aboriginal Tent Embassy has become a lasting symbol of Aboriginal unity on land rights and sovereignty.
  • Self-Determination Policy

    Self-Determination Policy
    Self Determination Policy meant that aborigines would now have more say in their affairs and more input into the laws and policies that affected their community. They would have more freedom to live their lives how they wanted to. The assimilation policy of taking children away from Aboriginal parents was also officially ended. Self-determination was a major step towards Aboriginal people having the same rights and freedoms as those enjoyed by white Australians.
  • Aboriginal Education Allowed

    Aboriginal Education Allowed
    NSW Director-General of Education approved the removal of the section of the teachers’ handbook that allowed school principals the right to refuse enrolment to Aboriginal children because of home conditions or substantial opposition from the community.
  • Catherine Freeman

    Catherine Freeman
    Catherine Freeman won gold in the women’s 400 metres race at the Sydney Olympic Games. She had a prominent role in the opening ceremony of the games, in lighting the Olympic torch. Cathy has always acknowledged the support of her people, heritage and culture in her journey to sporting greatness. She carried the Aboriginal flag in the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Auckland. Criticised for this, she carried both the Aboriginal and Australian flags after winning the 400 metres at the same Games.
  • Racial Discrimination Act

    Racial Discrimination Act
    The Racial Discrimination Act was passed in Federal Parliament. This Act makes racial discrimination unlawful in Australia and ensures that all Australians have the right to be treated equally in areas including employment, provision of goods and services and accessing public places.
  • The return of Uluru

    The return of Uluru
    LYING AT THE PHYSICAL and cultural heart of our nation, the great monolith of Uluru is sacred to Aboriginals for its place in the Tjukurpa - the 'creation period' - as well as a mecca for trourists drawn to this most iconic feature of the outback. A ceremony held to transfer custodianship of Uluru and neighbouring Kata Tjuta to its Anangu traditional owners was performed in the shadow of the immense rock, remains one of the most significant moments in the Aboriginal land-rights movement.
  • Burnam Burnam

    Burnam Burnam
    Burnam Burnam planted the Aboriginal flag beneath the white cliffs of Dover a symbolic invasion of Great Britain.. He claimed that Britain was now under Aboriginal sovereignty, but promised not to poison British waterholes, lace flour with strychnine nor 'pickle [British] skulls for public display'. Also pledged not to 'sterilise young women, nor separate children from their families'. His claim was pure theatre, but based on the historical truth of European treatment of Aborigines in Australia
  • Survival Day

    Survival Day
    Tens of thousands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people march through the streets of Sydney on Australia Day to celebrate their survival during the previous 200 years, while non-indigineous Australia commerates the bicentenary of their immigration. Aboriginal people rename the day to ‘Survival Day’.
  • Eddie Mabo

    Eddie Mabo
    Eddie Mabo The landmark Mabo judgment by the High court finds Australia was never terra nullius (empty land) and inserts the legal doctrine of native title into Australian law. Put simply, the decision said that under Australian law, Indigenous people have rights to land - rights that existed before colonisation and which still exist. This right is called native title.
  • Paul Keating ‘Redfern Park’ speech

    Paul Keating ‘Redfern Park’ speech
    Prime Minister Paul Keating makes his ‘Redfern Park’ speech at the launch of the International Year of the World’s Indigenous People, in which he acknowledges past wrongs committed to Aboriginal people.
  • The Native Title Act

    The Native Title Act
    Native Title act was passed through parliament, Native title recognises the traditional rights and interests to land and waters of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Under the Native Title Act 1993 (NTA), native title claimants can make an application to the Federal Court to have their native title recognised by Australian law.
  • The Wik Decision

    The Wik Decision
    The Wik Decision - the High Court reversed Justice Drummond’s judgement. The High Court found that pastoral leases did not necessarily extinguish native title and that both could co-exist but where there was a conflict native title rights were subordinate to the rights of the pastoral lease holder. The federal government develops ‘Ten Point Plan’ outlining a proposed legislative response to the High Court Wik decision, with the aim of limiting Aboriginal land rights.
  • Bringing Them Home Report

    Bringing Them Home Report
    In 1997, the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission published the ‘Bringing Them Home’ report. This report not only targeted the domestic violence and absent behaviour of present Aboriginals affected of the stolen generation period, but also led to many mental illnesses, deprived children whom had been taken away by their families for unnecessary means. This was important as the government finally took action of the wrong doings in the past regarding Aboriginal welfare as a key priority.
  • Sea of Hands - Reconcilation

    Sea of Hands  -  Reconcilation
    Sea of Hands, 12th October 1997, the Sea of Hands paved its way into Australian history books as 70,000 members of culturally diverse communities protested outside Parliament House in Canberra. It was a protest in opposition to the Howard Government’s proposed amendments to the Native Title Act of 1993.The Sea of Hands is a prominent Australian symbol of Indigenous rights to land, the on-going process of Reconciliation, and the desire for greater mutual understanding and respect.
  • Aboriginal Engravings

    Aboriginal Engravings
    Aboriginal engravings are found in South Australia dating back to 42,000 BC.
  • United Walk across Harbour Bridge

    United Walk across Harbour Bridge
    More than 150 000 people stream across the Sydney Harbour Bridge in an emotional expression of support for reconciliation between Indigenous people and the wider Australian community.
  • Myall Creek Massacre Memorial

    Myall Creek Massacre Memorial
    The Myall Creek Massacre Memorial was established, bringing together descendants of the victims, survivors and perpetrators, in reconciliation. The memorial is a large granite boulder with a plaque overlooking the site of the massacre. A number of smaller boulders lead up to the large boulder, each holding part of the story. On 10 June each year there is a commemoration ceremony held at the site. In 2005, the memorial received the inaugural Innovative Reconciliation Prize awarded by (ANTaR).
  • Redfern race riots

    Redfern race riots
    At least 40 police officers are reported injured following a night of violence directed at the police in Redfern, Sydney. The riot follows the death of a 17 year old Aboriginal boy, TJ Hickey after he was impaled on railings when his speeding bike spun out of control after being hit by a police car driven by Redfern Police. What happened to TJ's bike?
  • Northern Territory Intervention

    Northern Territory Intervention
    Prime Minister John Howard and Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough announce the Northern Territory intervention. Staged as a response to the ‘Little Children are Sacred’ report, the intervention is widely criticised because it also legislates to remove the permit system for access to Aboriginal land, abolish the Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP), quarantine 50% of welfare payments, compulsorily acquire Aboriginal land and subject Aboriginal children to mandatory health checks.
  • Sorry Apology to Stolen Generation

    Sorry Apology to Stolen Generation
    Sorry Day The Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd, had finally apologised to the Stolen Generations and said ‘sorry’. Aboriginal people across all Australia were deeply moved and in tears:
  • Aboriginal Art Resale Royalty Right

    Aboriginal Art Resale Royalty Right
    Aboriginal Art Resale Royalty Right or Visual Artists Act is introduced, entitling all artists to a 5% royalty whenever their work is re-sold. Thousands of Aboriginal artists can benefit from the scheme.
  • The National Gallery

    The National Gallery
    The National Gallery of Australia opens 11 new Indigenous galleries and art spaces that will house the majority of the gallery’s huge collection of Indigenous art, reportedly the largest collection of its kind in the world.
  • Recognition Bill

    Recognition Bill
    The Australian Parliament passes with bi-partisan (meaning both parties) support the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Recognition Bill 2012 which acknowledges in law that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are the first inhabitants of this nation and sets out a review process to progress the route for a referendum for constitutional recognition.