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1942

  1. The Methodist Church in North Australia sets up an Aboriginal mission on Elcho Island, Northern Territory.

1943

  1. The Aborigines Welfare Fund is set up "for the general benefit of Aboriginal people". The fund received income from government-operated retail stores, child endowment benefits and Aboriginal wages. Until 1966 a compulsory deduction from Aboriginal peoples' wages was transferred to the fund.

  2. Formation of the Torres Straight Light Infantry Battalion. 880 men enlist, about 90% of the total male population of the Islands. Their discipline and work ethic sees them in high regard among fellow soldiers. In small groups they patrolled the islands close to Papua New Guinea monitoring the movements of Japanese forces. Yet, they only receive half of the wages of their peers.

  3. A further amendment to the Aboriginal protection legislation in NSW gives two Aboriginal people - one ‘full-blood’ and one ‘half-caste’ - representation on the Aboriginal Welfare Board. Walter Page and William Ferguson, both Aboriginal Progressive Association members, take up the positions.

  4. An Exemption Certificate is introduced, exempting certain Aboriginal people from restrictive legislation and entitling them to vote, drink alcohol and move freely but prohibiting them from consorting with others who are not exempt. Their children are allowed to be admitted to ordinary public schools.

    Aboriginal people use the derogatory terms ‘dog tags’ or ‘dog licences’ to refer to the certificates. For many Aboriginal people this renunciation of their traditional lifestyle is promoted as the only opportunity to overcome poverty, gain work and access to education and social welfare benefits.

1945

  1. An investigation shows Aboriginal people on Lord Vestey’s Northern Territory cattle station are getting poor rations, inadequate housing, water and sanitation facilities and are paid less than the five shillings a day minimum wage, which was set for Aboriginal people in a 1918 ordinance. European males receive two pounds and eight shillings (equal to 48 shillings) a week in 1945.

  2. Bill Onus, organising in Redfern, co-founds the Redfern All Blacks Rugby League team which would become a community and political organisation throughout the 50s and 60s.

  3. Aboriginal cattle station workers in the Port Hedland district of Western Australia strike for a pay increase. They are getting 10 shillings a week and are supplied with blankets. Aboriginal people then form a co-operative to mine alluvial wolfram which was successful.

1946

  1. Aboriginal children need a medical certificate to attend public schools.

  2. Aboriginal pastoral workers initiate the Pilbara strike in Western Australia over pay, conditions and ill treatment.

1948

  1. The Commonwealth Citizenship and Nationality Act for the first time makes all Australians, including all Aboriginal people, Australian citizens. But at state level they still suffer legal discrimination.

  2. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is adopted by the newly-formed United Nations and supported by Australia.

  3. Melbourne’s first Moomba festival is staged. Approached about naming the festival, Aboriginal people suggest “Moomba”, telling the officials it means “Let’s get together and have fun!” Actually meaning “up your bum” the name was adopted and is still used.

1949

  1. Aboriginal people are given the right to enrol and vote at federal elections provided they are entitled to enrol for state elections or have served in the armed forces.

  2. The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide is ratified by Australia. It comes into force in 1951.

  3. February

    A group of Aboriginal stockmen including Ampilatwatja man Banjo Morton walk off from the Lake Nash Cattle Station demanding wages instead of rations. After a short period they are paid one pound a week. It is the first time Aboriginal stockmen walked off disputing labour conditions in the NT.

1950

  1. Aboriginal children assimilate into NSW local schools, if all other parents agree. This right of veto is removed in 1960.

  2. Stamp: 8 1/2d Gwoya Jungarai, often known as 'One Pound Jimmy'.
    Gwoya Jungarai

    The portrait of Gwoya Jungarai (ca.1895-1965) of the Warlpiri people, Central Australia, appears on the 8 1/2 pence (8 1/2d) and two shillings and sixpence (2s.6d, issued 1952) definitive stamps. The stamps become widely known as “One Pound Jimmy” because when asked the price of his artefacts for sale he always replied “One Pound”.

  3. The first formal schooling for Aboriginal children in the Northern Territory is provided. Lack of facilities is rationalised by the claim that children “beyond the age of 10 couldn’t keep up with white children anyway”.

1951

  1. The federal government convenes the Australian Conference for Native Welfare, with all states and territories represented except Victoria and Tasmania, which claim to have no Aboriginal ‘problem’. The conference officially adopts a policy of ‘assimilation’ for Aboriginal people.

    "Assimilation means, in practical terms, that it is expected that all persons of Aboriginal birth or mixed blood in Australia will live like white Australians do.[1]

References

View article sources (1)

[1] 'Timeline of legislation affecting Aboriginal people', DECS Curriculum Services, www.aboriginaleducation.sa.edu.au

Harvard citation

Korff, J 2019, Timeline results for , <https://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/timeline/searchResults?page=11>, retrieved 24 July 2019

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