History

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1971

  1. Evonne Cawley, an Aboriginal tennis player, receives the Australian of the Year award. Famous Aboriginal people

  2. The Second NSW Teachers Federation Survey finds that 27% of Aboriginal students now reach Year 10 and classifies 38% as ‘Slow learners’.

  3. Aboriginal workers walk off the Noonkanbah cattle and sheep station in Western Australia to stop oil drilling on a sacred site.

  4. Dennis Walker and Sam Watson open the first and only ever Australian chapter of the Black Panther Party (an anti-racism left wing US organisation) in Brisbane. They monitor police activity and the amount of young black men vs. young white men taken into the prison system for the same crime. The party ceased in 1973. [1]

    We followed Aboriginal defendants through – recording and comparing the sentencing trends so we could show that Aboriginal people were the most overarrested and overincarcerated people in the entire Australian community. — Sam Watson, Aboriginal activist [1]

  5. Gumatj Elders Millrrpum and others take on Nabalco Pty Ltd and the federal government in the Gove land rights case following on from the Bark Petition. The Northern Territory Supreme Court ruled that Aboriginal people did not, under Australian law own the Arnhem Land reserve. This meant Nabalco could mine bauxite from the land.

  6. Jack Charles and Bob Maza found the first Aboriginal theatre company Nindethana.

  7. Larrakia people ‘sit-in’ at Bagot Road, Darwin as a protest against theft of their land.

  8. Queensland Aborigines Act is passed, maintaining some legal restrictions for Aboriginal people living on reserves. Aboriginal cultural customs are banned and reading matter, mail, recreation, and marital and sexual relationships are censored. Their work and wage worth can be decreased and their movements recorded.

  9. NSW Aboriginal Legal Service is formed, followed by Aboriginal pre-school, Black Theatre and the Aboriginal Housing Company.

  10. Neville Bonner becomes the first Aboriginal Member of Parliament, filling a casual Senate vacancy. In 1972 he is elected on the Liberal Party ticket in Queensland. Senator Bonner continues to represent Queensland as a Liberal Senator until 1983.

  11. Aboriginal player Evonne Goolagong wins Wimbledon Women’s Singles title.

  12. Aboriginal people are counted in the national census for the first time.

  13. Aboriginal flag is designed by Luritja artist Harold Thomas and flown for the first time in Adelaide.

  14. Principals of schools in New South Wales are no longer able to exclude Aboriginal children because of home conditions or community opposition.

  15. November

    During a ‘Smash The Acts campaign’ dozens of Aboriginal people march in Sydney to protest against protectionist acts which regulate many aspects of their lives.

1972

  1. Bruce McGuinness and Martin Bartfeld shoot “Blackfire” which focuses on Aboriginal communities in Melbourne. It is the first film known to have been made by an Aboriginal Australian.

  2. After having been in effect for more than 70 years, the government announces that the White Australia policy has ended.

    When migration began here on January 26th 1788 all Australians were black and the first migrants were white and not very well selected I might say. — Al Grassby, Minister for Immigration 1972–1974 [2]

  3. Aboriginal Heritage Protection Act is proclaimed in Western Australia.

  4. The Whitlam (Labor) government abolishes the White Australia Policy and introduces a policy of self-determination. The change provides the right to cultural and linguistic maintenance and management of natural resources on Aboriginal land.

  5. Forced control over wages and savings (bank books) ceases, although people have to request to be free from financial management.

References

View article sources (2)

[1] [1a] 'The Black Panthers Brisbane Chapter', Hell Yeah Magazine, 3rd edition, 2011 p.31
[2] 'Immigration Nation', 3-part SBS series, Part 3

Harvard citation

Korff, J 2019, Timeline results for , <https://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/timeline/searchResults?page=15>, retrieved 21 November 2019

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