Timeline results for 1900 to 1969

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  1. Stockmen and women walk off Wave Hill cattle station owned by British aristocrat Lord Vestey, about 700 kms south of Darwin in the Northern Territory, in protest against intolerable working conditions and inadequate wages. They establish a camp at Watti Creek and demand the return of some of their traditional lands. This begins a seven-year fight by the Gurindji people to obtain title to their land.

  2. The South Australian Prohibition of Discrimination Act is the first of its kind in Australia and bans all types of race and colour discrimination in employment, accommodation, legal contracts and public facilities.

  3. Margaret Valadian becomes the first Aboriginal university graduates at Queensland University. She goes on to also become the first postgraduate student.

  4. South Australia passes an Aboriginal Lands Trust Bill and the Prohibition of Discrimination Bill, the first state act prohibiting discrimination on grounds of race, colour or country of origin.

  5. The Conciliation and Arbitration Commission finds in favour of an application from the North Australian Workers’ Union for award wages for Aboriginal pastoral workers. The cattle industry reacts by phasing out Aboriginal labour and progressively evicting Aboriginal communities off the properties which are their traditional lands.

  6. The back of the new decimal $1 banknote, issued in February 1966, features First Nations imagery adapted from books and paintings. It shows rock paintings and carvings, Mimi figures and examples of fauna in the traditional X-ray style. This is combined with an extract from the bark painting Funerary rites of Gurrmirringu by David Malangi Daymirringu.

  7. Land & land rights

    The South Australian Lands Trust Act is the first-ever Act in Australia to recognise Aboriginal land rights and provide land ownership and compensation to dispossessed Aboriginal people. The Act set up a trust composed of Aboriginal people. It enabled them to obtain specific title to reserves, where reserves existed.


  1. In the Commonwealth 1967 Referendum more than 90% vote to empower the Commonwealth to legislate for all Aboriginal people and open means for them to be counted in the census. Hopes fly high that constitutional discrimination will end. It also empowers the federal government to legislate for Aboriginal people in the states and share responsibility for Aboriginal affairs with state governments. All states except Queensland abandon laws and policies that discriminate against Aboriginal people. The first census fully including Aboriginal people is in 1971.

  2. The Gurindji people petition the Governor General for 1,295 square kilometres of their land to be excised from the Wave Hill pastoral lease.

  3. A war cry used by all Kangaroo teams up to and in 1967 is almost certainly based on an Aboriginal chant emanating from Stradbroke Island, just south from Brisbane.


  1. Aboriginal workers on reserves are paid 50% of the state minimum wage. Equal wages in the pastoral industry.

  2. Nabalco and the federal government sign an agreement giving Nabalco a 42-year special lease to mine bauxite near Yirrkala in the Arnhem Land reserve.

  3. Desecration of the Weebo sacred site in central Western Australia through pegging of mineral claims eventually leads to the Western Australian Heritage Act being proclaimed in 1972.

  4. The Commonwealth Office of Aboriginal Affairs is established and in 1972 becomes the Department of Aboriginal Affairs.

  5. Lionel Rose beats bantamweight ‘Fighting’ Harada in Tokyo to become the first Aboriginal world boxing champion. He goes on to receive the Australian of the Year award the same year. Famous Aboriginal people

  6. First Aboriginal debutante ball at Sydney Town Hall. Prime Minister John Gorton was one of the guests.

  7. Holden releases its 'new generation’ which includes the first two-door sports coupe, the 'Monaro’ which proved to be one of the most popular and enduring GMH cars. The word comes from a word from (probably) the Ngarigo people, of southeast NSW, meaning 'high plain’ or 'high plateau’.

  8. Recognition

    A railway track laying crew of mostly Torres Strait Islander workers breaks the world record for laying the greatest length of railway in a single day. Despite temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius, the crew lays 7 kilometres of railway track for the Mount Newman to Port Hedland line (Western Australia), fully spiked and anchored, in 11 hours and 40 minutes.

  9. Geologist Jim Bowler discovers the remains of an Aboriginal woman in a dry lake bed of the Willandra Lakes World Heritage area in NSW. The remains are dated to be 40,000 years old and change the view of human history. They reveal a sophisticated culture and are the oldest evidence of homo sapiens outside Africa. The remains are later nicknamed "Mungo Lady".

  10. Arts Stamps
    Albert Namatjira.
    Stamp celebrating Aboriginal artist Albert Namatjira.

    First named Aboriginal person honoured on an Australian stamp. Artist Albert Namatjira appears on the Famous Australians issue. He was also the first Aboriginal person to be accepted as a citizen of the Commonwealth in 1957.


View article sources (2)

[1] 'First Nations Peoples and Australian Banknotes - Towards change', Reserve Bank of Australia Museum, available at museum.rba.gov.au/exhibitions/first-nations-peoples-and-australian-banknotes/towards-change/
[2] 'General Motors Holden – Monaro, Three New Models (1968)', Australian Screen, aso.gov.au/titles/ads/holden-monaro-three-models/notes, retrieved 26/6/2021

Cite this page

Korff, J 2024, Timeline results for 1900 to 1969, <https://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/timeline/searchResults?page=8&q=&category=any&yearFrom=1900&yearTo=1969>, retrieved 14 June 2024

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