History

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1972

  1. Community controlled Aboriginal Medical Service is set up in Redfern, Sydney. The first in Australia.

  2. Aboriginal activists pitch an Aboriginal Tent Embassy outside Parliament House in Canberra, demonstrating for land rights.

  3. Mullenjaiwakka, also known as Lloyd Clive McDermott, becomes the first Aboriginal barrister, when he is called to the NSW Bar. Lloyd is also a passionate rugby player. He died in April 2019.

  4. On National Aborigines Day there are Australia wide strikes and marches by Aboriginal people.

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

  6. 1,000 Aboriginal people sign the Larrakia petition, one of the most important documents in the history of their struggle for land rights. Headed Gwalwa Daraniki, which means ‘our land’ in the language of the Larrakia people (the traditional owners of the Darwin area in the NT), the Larrakia petition called for land rights and political representation for the Aboriginal people of Australia.

  7. The Whitlam (Labor) government establishes the Department of Aboriginal Affairs. By 1975 offices have been established in all states and only Queensland has not transferred to the department all major responsibilities for Aboriginal policy and administration.

  8. The Whitlam government freezes all applications for mining and exploration on Commonwealth Aboriginal reserves.

1973

  1. Mr Justice Woodward of the Aboriginal Land Commission delivers his first report, showing the way for a new approach to Aboriginal land rights.

  2. The Whitlam government introduces the first Department of Aboriginal Affairs (DAA), employing Aboriginal people for Aboriginal issues. The DAA begins a national programme to improve health services for Aboriginal people. It also introduces the first national body elected by Aboriginal people, the National Aboriginal Consultative Committee (NACC), which has only an advisory role, however. Aboriginal people elect the members.

  3. First national elections for Aboriginal people to elect 41 members of the National Aboriginal Consultative committee. More than 27,000 Aboriginal people vote.

  4. The NSW Aboriginal Land Trust is set up to receive freehold ownership of former Aboriginal reserves.

  5. The first Aboriginal side tours New Zealand.

    Rugby League is the first sport in Australia to appoint an Aboriginal player as its national captain: Arthur Beetson when the Kangaroos play France.

  6. Brothers Vern and Frank Daisy are institutions in Mt Isa (Queensland) football for many years.

1974

  1. Hyacinth Tungutalum (Country Liberal Party), from Bathurst Island is elected to the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly, representing the electorate of Arafura.

  2. Second Report of the Aboriginal Land Commission (The Woodward Report) is tabled, acknowledging Aboriginal people’s link with the land; ‘to deny Aborigines the right to prevent mining on their land is to deny the reality of their land rights’. His report is accepted in principle by all political parties and most states.

  3. A Commonwealth Act establishes the Aboriginal Land Fund Commission to buy land for Aboriginal corporate groups. Since then many properties have been acquired throughout Australia. The fund was replaced by the ADC (Aboriginal Development Council) in 1980.

  4. Eric Deeral becomes Queensland’s first Aboriginal Member of Parliament. He goes on to represent the seat of Cook in the Queensland Parliament from 1974 to 1977.

1975

  1. Gurindji people receive leasehold title to some of their traditional land (Wave Hill Station) in the Northern Territory.

  2. The Laverton Royal Commission in Western Australia investigating clashes between police and Aboriginal people at Laverton and Skull Creek in December, 1974 and January, 1975, found that police were unable to justify arrests and that some parts of the police story had been invented. The Premier, Sir Charles Court, dismissed the report as “a waste of money”.

Harvard citation

Korff, J 2020, Timeline results for , <https://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/timeline/searchResults?page=16>, retrieved 31 March 2020

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