Indigenous Rights Over Time

  • Human Rights for Australian Aboirignes

    Human Rights for Australian Aboirignes
    The object is the book written by Mary Bennett titled “Human Rights for Australian Aborigines” in the 1900s. Mary was an activist for Indigenous rights who pressured the Anti-Slavery Society and women's organisations to help her. This book is inspired by her work as an activist which symbolizes what the future should be. And that should be Indigenous Australians given human rights and not be treated with discrimination but as equal.
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    Albert Namatjira

    Albert Namatjira was an Aboriginal who lived from 28th July 1902 to 8th August 1959. During that period of time in which he lived, Aboriginal people of full descent were declared "wards" of the state in 1957. 6 people however were not wards and one of them was Albert Namatjira because of his fame as an artist interested everyone including even the white Australians. This achievement by Albert shows how aboriginal people are capable human beings who are no different from white Australians.
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    Sir Douglas Nicholls

    Sir Douglas Nicholls was the first Aboriginal person to be knighted and also to be the Governor of South Australia, in 1976. Furthermore he was a footballer respected by not only by the Aboriginals but also non-indigenous Australians. His achievements were significant among the Aboriginals as it showed that they are a capable cultural group who are being discriminated against with no reason.
  • Portrait of Anthony Martin Fernando

    Portrait of Anthony Martin Fernando
    This is a portrait of Anthony Martin Fernando painted by Raj Nagi. Anthony was a well known Aboriginal in the 1920s and 1930s as he often stood outside the London's Australia House wearing a long coat sewn over with toy skeletons. These skeletons are symbolic for the Aboriginal people who had died because of the white Australians' poor treatment. This immense courage and persistence by Anthony encouraged others to protest for the rights of Aboriginals.
  • Day of Mourning and Protest

    Day of Mourning and Protest
    On 26th Janauary 1938 while the white Australians celebrated the 150th anniversary of British Colonisation of Australia. Indigenous Australians protested against the white people for their harsh treatment and ignorning their rights as human beings. This photo symbolizes how the white Australians are being unreasonable in treating the Aboriginal people poorly. Their only difference is their culture which means Aboriginals should be treated equally and their rights should be respected.
  • The Australian Aborigines League Banner

    The Australian Aborigines League Banner
    This is the banner made by Bills Onus in the 1940s which says “ The Aborigine speaks … the voice of the Aborigine must be heard.” This league was founded by William Cooper in the 1930s and supported many Inidigenous rights campaigns such as the Cooper's 1937 Petition to King George V. The message in the banner symbolizes what Aboriginals want and that is for their ideas and protest to be respected because they have the right.
  • Wharfie's hook

    Wharfie's hook
    The wharfie's hook was used by Joe McGiness in the 1950s and 1960s on the wharves at Carins to load and unload cargo. Joe gave his hook to his close friend which was then preserved in a tuckerbox that has found its way to the collection of the National Museum. This hook symbolizes his acceptance as a worker of equal status.
  • Hollywood Mission

    Hollywood Mission
    The Hollywood mission, which closed during the 1950s, were small reserves where aboriginals were encouraged to live. This object is one of the last remaining parts of the mission. It was donated by Eric Bell, an aboriginal elder who grew up in the mission. Missions generally had strict regulations where cultural practices and communication to outside was forbidden. This object symbolizes how the rights of Aboriginals were not even accounted for because of obvious racism.
  • John Moriarty's dressing gown

    John Moriarty's dressing gown
    This is the dressing gown worn by John Moriarty during his time at St Francis' house in Adelaide which was in the 1950s. During this time, John had played for a few soccer teams before being the first Indigenous Australian to be selected to play for the Australian team. This dressing gown is symbolic for the time that John spent his past before becoming a well known soccer player.
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    Marcia Langton

    Marcia Langton is one of Australia's most famous Aboriginal Scholars studying in University of Melbourne. She grew up in Brisbane as a descendant of the Wiradjuri and Bidjara nations. She has worked for several organisations that strives to resolve Indigenous social and cultural issues. She is also a university researcher in Indigenous studies.
  • Dog Tag

    Dog Tag
    This is a painting by Sally Morgan in 1983 inspired by the dog tags which were an exemption certificate that had to be carried at all times by Aboriginal people as proof that they have civil rights that non-indigenous Australians have. These tags were used in the 1960s which symbolizes how Aboriginals were treated merely as dogs being controlled because of racism.
  • Bowraville Picture Seats

    Bowraville Picture Seats
    These are the seats in the picture theatre in Bowraville, New South Wales, in the 1960s. The aboriginals sat at the front where there were woodens seats while white people sat on luxurious plush seats up on the back making them seem “higher” than the aboriginals. These seats symbolizes the racism against the Aboriginals who were treated different from the white Australians and did not sit side by side but apart from each other.
  • Wave Hill Spur

    Wave Hill Spur
    This is a spur used in the 1960s that was owned by Sabu Sing, a well known cattleman in the area. Spurs were used for controlling horses on the station. Aboriginal workers used this spur at Wave Hill Station despite receiving low wage. This spur symbolizes how the Aboriginals had worked hard despite being given low pay. This shows how the Aboriginals' rights were ignored during the 1960s and the white Australians were being unreasonable.
  • Yirrkala petition

    Yirrkala petition
    This is a petition to the federal parliament protesting against the mining exploration at Grove near Yirrkala which threatened the people of Yirrkala's land. Althought the mining exploration went throught, it marked the first time that traditional Indigenous documents had been recognised by parliament. This petition symbolizes how a step had been in hope for the voices of Aboriginal people to be heard.
  • Faith Bandler's Gloves

    Faith Bandler's Gloves
    These are Faith Bandler’s gloves which were worn during her well known campaign for the 1967 referendum. Her efforts as an activist is a symbol of hope for equality among indigenous Australians.
  • Referendum Box

    Referendum Box
    This is the referendum box used to change the Australian Constitution so that the Aboriginal people would be counted in the census. The referendum had 90 per cent saying ‘yes’ to it which is the highest in Australia’s history. The overwhelming support for Aboriginals in this referendum symbolizes how the White Australians began to accept the Indigenous Australians as part of their community.
  • Wave Hill Station Walk-Off

    Wave Hill Station Walk-Off
    This is a landmark event commemorating the return of the Gurundji lands to the Gurundji people. In August 1966, Lingiari had asked for higher wages but his manager refused because Lingiari was Aboriginal. He and other Aboriginal workers as Wave Hill Station walked off the property. They also argued that the land should be theirs and in 26 August 1975, the land offically returned to them. This event gives hope for a future where the wishes of Aboriginals are listened to as they have the right.