Timeline results for 1400 to 2022

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  1. The colony of South Australia is founded. A “Protector” of Aboriginal people is appointed but the Kaurna people, near Adelaide, are unable to maintain life as a group because of the expanding settlement and loss of their land.


  1. Massacres

    The ‘Myall Creek Massacre’ occurs. 12 heavily armed colonists rounded up and brutally kill 28 Aboriginal people from a group of 40 or 50 people gathered at Henry Dangar’s Station, at Myall Creek near Inverell (NSW). The massacre was believed to be a payback for the killing of several hut keepers and two shepherds. But most of those killed were
    women and children and good relations existed between the Aboriginal people and European occupants of the station.
    Seven stockmen are eventually hanged for murder. This outrages the colonial press and parts of the public who cannot understand why anyone should hang for murdering Aboriginal people.


  1. Wiradjuri men Yarri and Jacky Jacky (later known as James McDonnell and John Morley) use large bark canoes to save 68 settlers when the a record flood of the Murrumbidgee River inundates the NSW Riverina town of Gundagai. 89 locals died in the floods. In 2018 both men receive posthumous bravery medals for their actions and the town honours them with a large bronze statue.


  1. Health

    A devastating measles epidemic, brought on by European explorers, cuts through through the Torres Strait Islands at the height of the pearl-shell fishery and reduces the population of the whole area by almost 25% because Islanders had no natural immunity. On some islands 50 to 80% of the population succumbs to the disease.


  1. Arts Stamps
    Stamp: Centenary of the exploration of the Murray River.
    1930: Can you find all elements in the stamp?

    The first stamp of Australia showing a reference to Aboriginal culture celebrates the centenary of Exploration of Murray River (1½d red and 3d blue). It shows a boomerang, a coolamon, two spear heads and Lyre bird tail feathers.


  1. 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.


  1. Politics

    The NSW government passes the Aborigines Protection (Amendment) Act 1943 which in Section 18c introduces Exemption Certificates that allow certain Aboriginal people to be exempted from the restrictive legislation and entitled to similar rights as non-Aboriginal people, e.g. to vote, drink alcohol and move freely and send their children to school. In return they "shall be deemed not to be an aborigine [sic]" which means they have to give up their cultural activities and contacts to family and community. The Act remains in force until 1969.

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


  1. The Palm Island workforce demonstrates and strikes against unfair wages and apartheid. In response, the Queensland government dispatches 20 police to put the rebellion down. At gunpoint, 7 men and their families are shipped off the island in leg irons and transported to settlements on the mainland.


  1. Politics

    Palawa man Andrew David Kennedy is elected as a Labor member to the Australian House of Representatives in the by-election for the seat of Bendigo. He holds the seat until his defeat at the 1972 federal election. Kennedy’s First Nations heritage was unknown when he entered parliament nor did he self-identify as Aboriginal at that time. For these reasons Neville Bonner is recorded as the first Aboriginal parliamentarian (in 1971).


  1. Politics

    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.


  1. 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.


  1. The NSW Aboriginal Lands Trust is set up with nine Aboriginal representatives elected by the Aboriginal community from regional electorates. Its aim is to set up an Aboriginal-controlled authority that controls the Aboriginal reserves. The trust receives freehold title, but not ownership, to the 56 remaining Aboriginal reserves and can lease land to Aboriginal people.


  1. Racial Discrimination Act is passed in the federal parliament. The Australian Senate unanimously endorses a resolution put up by Senator Neville Bonner acknowledging prior ownership of this country by Aboriginal people and seeking compensation for their dispossession.


  1. The Western Australian Supreme Court grants an injunction against the American-based Amax company which wants to explore Aboriginal-owned Noonkanbah pastoral lease for oil. The cattle and sheep station in the state’s northwest was purchased by the Commonwealth for local Aboriginal people, who were surprised to find that 497 mining leases and an oil exploration permit had already been granted on their land. Test drilling finally went ahead despite Aboriginal resistance, supported by Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people across Australia. In 2007 Aboriginal people win native title rights over land including the station.


  1. Treaty

    The Senate Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs is presented with a recommendation that an amendment to the Constitution for the Treaty-making process should be the same form as Section 105A of the Australian Constitution, which would then enshrine Aboriginal inherent sovereign rights. The Fraser government gives in-principle support to this proposal.


  1. Treaty

    A statement of Aboriginal aspirations is presented to Mr Hawke at the Barunga Festival ("The Barunga Statement"). The Prime Minister responds by calling for a treaty to be negotiated between the Aboriginal people and the government of Australia.

    There shall be a treaty negotiated between the Aboriginal people and the government on behalf of all the people of Australia.

    — Prime Minister Bob Hawke


  1. The Wik Peoples make a claim for native title in the Federal Court of Australia for land on the Cape York Peninsula in Queensland. Native Title Act does not pass through parliament until December 1993.


  1. The Australian Government proclaims the Aboriginal flag as an official ‘Flag of Australia’ under section 5 of the Flags Act 1953.

  2. Arts Stamps
    A still image is shown along with the title of the film.
    Jedda was the first Australian feature to employ Aboriginal lead actors.

    One stamp in the Centenary of Cinema issue features Jeddathe first Australian feature film to use Aboriginal actors in the lead roles and the first to be filmed in colour.


  1. Arts Stamps

    Australia Post issues a set of stamps that celebrates the Papunya Tula school of art. The set shows four of the many artists: Ningura Napurrula (Pintupi, born c. 1938; $1.10), Naata Nungurrayi (Pintupi, born c. 1932; $1.65), Graham Tjupurrula (Pintupi, born 1975; $2.20) and Dini Campbell Tjampitjinpa (Pintupi, c.1945-2000; $3.30). All paintings are untitled.

    Four paintings show abstract images using strokes, circles and u-shapes.
    The stamps show four paintings of artists of the Papunya Tula art movement.


View article sources (1)

[1] 'Indigenous Australian parliamentarians in federal and state/territory parliaments: a quick guide', Parliament of Australia 15/6/2021, available at www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/rp/rp2021/Quick_Guides/IndigenousParliamentarians2021

Cite this page

Korff, J 2022, Timeline results for 1400 to 2022, <https://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/timeline/searchResults?q=&s=&category=any&yearFrom=1400&yearTo=2022&month=6>, retrieved 12 August 2022

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