Fight for Liberty and Freedom



Opposition to the British colonisation of Australia did not spring from the Mabo decision or the Native Title Act, nor was it born in the vibrant 1960’s, which culminated in the famous Tent Embassy in 1972.

Rather, the first politically organised and united all-Aboriginal activist group was the Australian Aboriginal Progressive Association (AAPA), begun in 1924 under the leadership of Frederick Maynard.

For the first time Aboriginal people voiced their disapproval in public in a well-organised way. They opened offices in Sydney, held street rallies, conducted public meetings, gained newspaper coverage, wrote letters and petitions to government at all levels, and collaborated with the international black labor movement.

The AAPA’s demands resonate today. They centred on Aboriginal rights to land, stopping Aboriginal children being taken from their families, the acquisition of citizenship rights, and defending a distinct Aboriginal cultural identity. This form of resistance and organised action has now endured for more than seventy years and through a detailed exploration of the life of his grandfather, John Maynard reveals the AAPA’s invaluable legacy.

This book makes a huge contribution ot Aboriginal social and political history… it allows us to understand Australian history from the Aboriginal viewpoint.—Professor Wendy Brady, Charles Darwin University

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