2S09 Rethinking Our Story Part 1: Twentieth Century Activists for Indigenous Justice

Tutor/Facilitator Sue Taffe

Date: on/from Tue 26 Apr 2022 to Tue 28 Jun
Frequency: Weekly
Class time: 11:00-12:00

Delivered F2F

Mary Kehoe Centre, Room 3

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Four interracial, intercultural activist friendships will form the basis of this nine week course. They are:

  • Pastor Sir Douglas Nicholls and Stan Davey’s work to establish the Victorian Aborigines Advancement League in 1958 and run campaigns such as those for constitutional referendum and land rights.
  • Mary Montgomerie Bennett and Shirley Andrews, a Christian and a Communist, re-appraise history, battle state governments who take children away from their mothers and insist that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights also apply to Indigenous Australians.
  • Oodgeroo Noonuccal and Judith Wright, poets and activists, use their pens to re-evaluate their histories, campaign for a treaty between black and white Australians and bring attention to environmental issues.
  • Barry Christophers, a Melbourne GP and Joe McGinness, a Cairns wharfie take on the Federal Government, draw attention to racially discriminatory legislation and get it amended to help Indigenous Queenslanders suffering from tuberculosis. They succeed!

Sue is happy to be flexible and to be guided by participants’ interests within the parameters of the course outline above. Part 1 will give participants the opportunity to understand efforts over the last eighty years to address unjust consequences of colonialism. Part 2 will consider the issues we face today such as Australia Day, Constitutional recognition, treaties between black and white Australians, teaching an inclusive Australian history.

REQUIREMENTS: An interest in learning about twentieth century campaigns fought to redress systemic injustices faced by Indigenous Australians. A preparedness to explore the issues discussed on the web and in libraries.

TUTOR: Sue has taught in secondary schools, TAFE colleges and Monash University, where she has also held research positions. She is the author of a number of articles and book chapters as well as two books: ‘Black and White Together: FCAATSI, the Federal Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders, 1958-1973’, UQP, 2005, and ‘A White Hot Flame: Mary Montgomerie Bennett, Author, Educator, Activist for Indigenous Justice’, Monash University Publishing, 2018. She is also the author of the website ‘Collaborating for Indigenous Rights’ which is hosted by the National Museum of Australia. She has interviewed a number of the people mentioned above.


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