An Aboriginal community in north-west Western Australia tells the story of the killing in by local pastoralists and police of family members at Mowla Bluff. See, among other sources, Wikipedia entry on Windradyne at http:
Let no one say the past is dead. The past is all about us and within. It is a politically active intelligentsia I think they are the most interesting group to emerge from the political point of view in the whole of the Aboriginal community in Australia.
Attendant as a natural consequence of ignorance of the defining events of these communities, is the manner in which historians have trivialized, marginalized and dismissed the achievements and historical influence of the so-called Australian Black Power Movement.
Black Power was a political movement that emerged among African-Americans in the United States in the mids.
The concept sought to express a new racial consciousness, and Robert Williams, of the NAACP, was the first to put the actual term to effective use in the late s.
I contend that Australian historians who seek to analyze events of the more recent Mabo era cannot properly comprehend the shape and state of race relations today without an understanding of the dynamics, personalities and events of the era of Black Power.
A growing disillusionment in black Australia today with the apparent limitations of the Native Title Act and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission ATSIC mirrors a similar community disaffection with Aboriginal organisations and leadership in the late s.
The disaffection then resulted in indigenous communities supporting more radical forms of action advocated by the Black Power movement. Thus there are important lessons to be learned from serious study of the events of that era.
Land in Aboriginal Politics in NSW,no Australian historians seem to have made a serious attempt to examine the long-term political, social and economic factors underlying the emergence of Black Power in Redfern. Only Margaret Ann Franklin Black and White Australians,Andrew Marcus Essays on the mabo decision Bain Attwood seem to have shown some interest in the era, but then only relatively superficially and in the context of the wider story of the 60s and 70s.
Peter Read wanders around the subject of Black Power in his biography of Charles Perkins, but because his focus is on Perkins he is deficient in his understanding of the younger generation that superceded the relatively conservative notions of Perkins.
Bennett Aborigines and Political Power, A Short History -on the other hand are openly hostile to Black Power. In doing this I firstly have the problem facing any indigenous person in the academy trying to give an accurate account of historical events within conventional Western academic constraints and as a linear narrative.
Every issue has been approached by indigenous peoples with a view to rewriting and rerighting our position in history The sense of history conveyed by these approaches is not the same thing as the discipline of history, and so our accounts collide, crash into each other.
As a participant in most of the events discussed, I have both the advantage of first hand knowledge and the disadvantage of the constraints imposed by the inherent subjectivity of such a position, not to mention the unreliability of memory.
Nevertheless, I intend to provide a narrative of three of the important defining moments in the emergence of Black Power as a seminal political force in indigenous politics in Australia. These events were; the establishment of the Redfern Aboriginal Legal Service; the Springbok rugby tour; and the Aboriginal Embassy in These three events helped define the ideas, personalities, actions and alliances that formed the Redfern Black Power movement, which in turn influenced indigenous political notions and actions for more than a decade.
Indeed, today as significant sections of indigenous communities become disaffected with the illusions of progress represented by the era of Mabo and the Native Title Act, many are beginning to call for a return to the political strategies and tactics of the Black Power era.
Thus there is a considerable residual perception in indigenous Australia that remembers the Black Power era as a time of greater social, political and economic gains than at any time since. In the course of a narrative of these events I challenge assumptions and interpretations of those few Australian historians and commentators who have proffered an opinion or analysis of the era.
In challenging false impressions created by less detailed accounts I hope to give greater insight into the significance of the ideas and philosophies of the Black Power era, from an indigenous perspective. Two thirds of the residents immediately packed up and crossed the Murray River into Victoria and thus withdrew their labour from the NSW Protection Board.
Former Cummeragunja residents who moved to Melbourne in the s and 50s had learned a valuable lesson on the intransigence of the white bureaucracy and the possibility of direct and united Aboriginal action. These people and their sons and daughters became part of the core of activists who were to take a much more radical line in the Aboriginal movement for self-determination in the late s.
It is significant that the children of the Cummeragunja exiles were among those most attracted to the more direct action tactics of the Black Power movement in the late s. As the organisation grew the dominance of non-indigenous people on its governing committee became entrenched, and even as it changed its name at its Easter conference inthere were rumblings of Aboriginal discontent at lack of indigenous control.
Then, former soccer-player and student at University of Sydney, Charles Perkins, decided to emulate similar action by the American civil rights movement as he sought to expose the level of segregation and racism rampant in NSW at the time.
They were pelted with eggs and rotten fruit when they tried to desegregate the Moree swimming pool and such was the level of violent response they encountered that the hired bus driver left the tour halfway through out of fear.
As Adam Shoemaker described it, Internationally inspired, a product of cooperation between whites and blacks committed to the same ideals, confrontationist but non-violent, the Freedom Ride was a consciousness-raising exercise that was very effective.
Awakening media interest in Aboriginal affairs was, for the first time, marshalled in favour of the Black Australian cause, to the severe embarrassment of many white townspeople in rural New South Wales.
All of these elements foreshadowed a pattern of protest that was to continue and expand in the s and s. As Gale wrote inAborigines continue to move out of their isolation into the mainstream of Australian city life [they] are no longer willing to accept the lowest position in the socio-economic scale This resurgence of Aboriginal identity has led to a change in the patterns of race relations in this country  Whilst a few like Coe and Williams had matriculated, the majority having had a better education than their parents, had nevertheless dropped out of school very early.
More often than not this was because the education system itself was perceived by Aboriginal youth as a part of the system that oppressed them. The FAA had set up premises in an old funeral parlour at George Street, near Central Railway Station, and by had become the major social congregation point for the increasing number of young arrivals from the bush and more established Koori city-dwellers.
It was at the social functions held by the FAA that most of the later Black Power movement met each other and began to discuss the events of the day. As a result by their late teens they had developed a relatively sophisticated knowledge and understanding of politics and political methodology from old hands like Brindle, Perkins, Shirley "Mum Shirl" Smith, Faith Bandler, Bert Groves, Chicka Dixon, Dulcie Flowers and others.Eddie Mabo challenged the right of the Queensland Government to take away his peoples land.
He lost his case in the Queensland Supreme Court, so he turned to the High Court of Australia. The High Court of Australia handed down its historic decision on the 3rd of June /5(3). The Mabo decision was a legal case held in and is short for Mabo and others v Queensland (No 2) ().
On June 3rd , the high court of Australia delivered its landmark Mabo decision and rewrote the Australian common law. Australia - History: This article discusses the history of Australia from the arrival of European explorers in the 16th century to the present. For a more detailed discussion of Aboriginal culture, see Australian Aboriginal peoples.
Prior to documented history, travelers from Asia may have reached Australia. China’s control of South Asian waters . Eddie Mabo, from Land Bilong Islanders. Courtesy of Trevor Graham-Yarra Bank Films. A monetary amount designed to compensate the cost of future care of an incapacitated plaintiff and the loss of earning capacity.
Gary Foley's personal Koori History page, with monthly special features on aspects of the Aboriginal struggle, photos, essays, and action.