The National Trachoma and Eye Health Program at Christmas Creek station in June 1977. It was at this station, during my first visit to the Kimberley, that I met my mother, Penny Luck a traditional Walmadjari woman. The story of this meeting with my Mother and my work on the National Trachoma and Eye Health Program is told in They used to call it Sandy Blight, the Report of the Program Continue reading
Lou Bennett is a founding member of the internationally acclaimed female trio, Tiddas. The other members were Amy Saunders and Sally Dastey. This Group of two Indigenous and one non-Indigenous woman worked together for the best part of ten years before it was disbanded in May 2000.
Australian Indigenous performer (Yorta Yorta Dja Dja Wurrung) Lou Bennett has established herself as a consummate performer/composer playing to audiences both in Australia and overseas working with both indigenous and non indigenous artists.
I first met Doreen in 1980 when I gained a grant for her to write her family genealogy. But she had left school at grade 3 and I worked with her for several years to help her gain the necessary skills to do the documentation and research. The launch was a great celebration for the whole community. She has a Hon Doctorate from University of SA for her work.
Report of the Aboriginal Women’s Task Force, 1986
When the Office of the Status of Women (OSW) was reconstituted in 1983 within the most powerful Commonwealth department, that of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, one of its major priorities was to consult with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women directly about their critical needs. To this end, OSW set up a Task Force, headed by two Aboriginal women, Phyllis Daylight and Mary Johnstone, assisted by eleven 11 Aboriginal and Islander Regional Co-ordinators and supported by Mary Sexton from OSW, to consult widely with Aboriginal women from round Australia .
When Jean Horner and her husband Jack went to the first public meeting of the Aboriginal-Australian Fellowship in April 1957, they simply wanted to find out if Aboriginal people were being discriminated against in their own country.
The meeting did far more than provide Jean and Jack with clear evidence of such discrimination – it was in fact to change their lives. For Jean it meant a long association with the campaign for Aboriginal justice in Australia and she became the hard-working colleague of many emerging Indigenous activists including Faith Bandler, Pearl Gibbs and Dulcie Flower. She worked tirelessly for the campaigns that led to the successful 1967 Referendum. Continue reading
On the Referendum campaign trail – Pat Bryant with husband Gordon (centre) and local campaigners at Yarrabah, just south of Cairns, in 1960
Members of the Union of Australian Women’s campaign to save Lake Tyers in 1964, with Gladys O’Shane (seated, centre), Pauline Pickford (seated, right) Dorothy Russell (standing second from left) and Marj Oke (seated left)
These women, members of the Union of Australian Women (UAW), which at this time had branches all over Australia and a membership in excess of 6000, demonstrated the power of women’s networks in achieving political change. The first aim of the UAW was ‘equal rights for women in political, civic and social spheres; equal pay for equal work and equal opportunities’. The UAW was active in providing forums for emerging Aboriginal leaders such as Gladys O’Shane, to inform people about the difficulties of life and the discrimination faced by Aboriginal Australians.
Doris Blackburn (Hordern)’s lifelong engagement in public affairs embraced the advancement of women, peace work, concern for the poor, underprivileged and powerless generally, and civil liberties. Fresh from her work as campaign-secretary to Vida Goldstein in her 1913 bid to enter the Senate, Doris entered into a personal and political partnership with high-profile, left-wing Labor politician Maurice Blackburn. She maintained her association with the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), and left the Labor Party in the late 1930s to pursue her anti-war activities with the International Peace Campaign. Continue reading
When Camilla Cowley’s south-western Queensland property came under native title claim she was fearful and angry. Against legal advice she sought out the claimants and upon hearing their case joined their cause. She learnt that the traditional owners, the Gunggari, ‘didn’t want to turf them off the land. They wanted, finally after all those years, recognition of who they were, where they came from and where they belonged’. Continue reading
Loris Williams and Margaret Reid were archivists working together in the Community and Personal Histories Section of the Queensland Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Policy (DATSIP) when the celebration of the Queensland Centenary of Women’s Suffrage for 2005 were being planned.
Loris and Margaret worked together with the women of the Queensland Centenary of Women’s Suffrage Taskforce, the Queensland Office for Women and the Queensland Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Policy. Continue reading