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1937

  1. Arthur 'Stoker' Currie is the first Aboriginal player to make the Country side which beats City. He plays bare-footed for Tweed Heads All Blacks. His grandson, Tony, plays for Australia.

  2. Segregationist practices continue until 1960s with separate sections in theatres, separate wards in hospitals, hotels refusing drinks and schools able to refuse enrolment to Aboriginal children.

    The governments in the 1930s said children had to be taken away from their parents because the influence of their own communities was immoral and they were in danger of abuse and neglect, but the real agenda then was to de-Aboriginalise them.

    — Michael Anderson, Aboriginal leader
  3. Politics
    Title page of Aboriginal Welfare Conference paper

    Aboriginal Welfare - Conference of Commonwealth and State Authorities called by the federal government, decides that the official policy for some Aboriginal people is assimilation policy. 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. The minutes of the meeting say:

    The destiny of the natives of aboriginal origin, but not of the full blood, lies in their ultimate absorption… with a view to their taking their place in the white community on an equal footing with the whites.

    In practice, assimilation policies lead to the destruction of Aboriginal identity and culture, justification of dispossession and the removal of Aboriginal children.

    In 50 years we should forget that there were any Aborigines in this country.

    — A.O. Neville, Western Australian Chief Aboriginal Protector
  4. In Dubbo, western NSW, trade unionist and Aboriginal politician William Ferguson launches the Aborigines Progressive Association, in opposition to the Aborigines Protection Board, after officials of the Board had arbitrarily used their powers to harass Aboriginal people.

1938

  1. A monthly newspaper, Australian Abo Call is published in Sydney, advocating equality of treatment and opportunity for Aboriginal people.

  2. For the Europeans ‘celebration’ of 150 years of "settlement" in NSW, the government transports Aboriginal people from western communities to Sydney to take part in the re-enactment of the British landing on 26 January 1788. Aboriginal organisations in Sydney refused to participate.

  3. The NSW government changes Aboriginal policy from ‘protection’ to assimilation following the 1937 conference.

  4. Politics Protest

    150 years after European occupation the Aboriginal Progressive Association declares a Day of Mourning. It holds a conference in Sydney, a landmark meeting of Aboriginal peoples, to bring attention to the plight and imposed conditions of Aboriginal people, and campaign for full citizenship and land rights. This is the first of many Aboriginal protests against inequality, injustice, dispossession of land and protectionist policies, and is considered the start of the Aboriginal political movement.

  5. Arts

    Central Australian Aboriginal painter, Albert Namatjira, 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.

  6. Protest

    Aboriginal man William Cooper, in his 70s, leads a delegation of the Australian Aboriginal League to the German Consulate in Melbourne to deliver a petition which condemns the "cruel persecution of the Jewish people by the Nazi government of Germany". The Jewish community appreciated Cooper's legacy with a plaque at the Jewish Holocaust Centre in Melbourne in 2002 in honour of "the Aboriginal people for their actions protesting against the persecution of Jews by the Nazi Government of Germany in 1938."

1939

  1. World War II begins. Although Aboriginal people are not recognised as citizens, two Aboriginal military units are established and some Aboriginal people serve in other sections of the armed forces as formally enlisted soldiers, sailors or airmen. Aboriginal people serve in Europe, the Middle East, the Pacific and New Guinea.

  2. Aboriginal children continue to be removed from their families during the period 1939 to 1945, including children whose fathers are at war overseas.

  3. The Aborigines Protection Board in South Australia is established.

  4. As a result of the 1937 conference Queensland passes legislation allowing Aboriginal people to receive workers’ compensation, and the Northern Territory government sets up a Native Affairs Branch.

  5. The Queensland government establishes a leprosarium on Fantome Island (Eumilli Island) in the Great Palm Island group, about 65 km north-east of Townsville. Aboriginal patients are sent there to protect white people from catching the disease until 1973 when it is closed.

  6. Protest

    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. The opera Pecan Summer tells the story of the walk-off.

1940

  1. Amendments to the NSW Aborigines protection legislation results in the replacement of the Aborigines Protection Board with the NSW Aborigines Welfare Board. Responsibility for Aboriginal education is transferred to the Department for Education, which takes control of reserve buildings and starts to provide trained teachers. ‘Aboriginal’ schools provide education beyond Grade 3.

  2. In the 1940s most federal social security benefits are extended to Aboriginal people.

  3. Increased mining developments in the 1940s in Western Australia bring protest from Aboriginal people concerned about their land. This lays the basis for the Pindan movement which was to grow from the 1946-49 Pilbara strike by
    Aboriginal pastoral workers.

  4. Discrimination against Aboriginal people begins to raise community disquiet. South Australian Premier Thomas Playford requests the Commonwealth government to pay maternity benefits and old age pension to Aboriginal people.

References

View article sources (4)

[1] 'Howard's NT plans will 'demoralise Aborigines'', media release, 25/6/2007
[2] National Library of Australia, nla.gov.au/nla.aus-vn118931
[3] 'Governments are attempting to steal our original sovereign citizenship and independence', First Nations Interim National Unity Government 16/6/2013
[4] 'Campaigner honoured', Koori Mail 516 p.27

Cite this page

Korff, J 2022, Timeline results for , <https://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/timeline/searchResults?page=10>, retrieved 12 August 2022

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