Torquay Timelines

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Torquay Timelines

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Torquay Timelines

  • John Batman attempts to make a ‘treaty’ with Aboriginal people for Port Phillip Bay, near present day Melbourne by ‘buying’ 243,000 hectares with 20 pairs of blankets, 30 tomahawks, various other articles and a yearly tribute. Governor Bourke does not recognise the ‘treaty’ and the purchase is voided. This is the only time colonists attempt to sign a treaty for land with Aboriginal owners.
  • William Buckley met John Batman and his party at Indented Head.
  • Triggered by accounts of the mistreatment of Aboriginal people by British colonists, the British House of Commons orders an inquiry and appoints a select committee to review the treatment of Aboriginal people by British subjects throughout the Empire.
  • William Lonsdale appointed Police Magistrate amongst increased killing and dispossession of Aboriginal people amongst authorities’ disinterest or lack of control. Cowie, von Steiglitz, Sutherland, Thompson & Manifold rush to take land near Geelong.
  • Willem Baa Ni ip, destined to be the last traditional Wathaurong person is born.
  • Buckley acts as an interpreter between the Port Phillip Association & the Wathaurong.
  • A ‘settler’ shoots Curacoine, clan-head of the Wadawurrung balug, dumping his body in the Barwon River.
  • Saxe Bannister, the first Attorney General of NSW, first promotes the idea of an Australian treaty with Aboriginal people in a Submission to the Select Committee of the House of Commons on Aborigines.
  • First Police magistrate (Foster Fyans) arrives in Geelong giving its settlement official colonial government recognition. Squatters complain to him ‘of attacks of the most determined character’ by Aborigines. Fyans complains of settlers killing blacks indiscriminately.
  • Governor Richard Burke names Geelong, with the name derived from the local Wathaurong (Wadda Wurrung) Aboriginal name for the region, Djillong, which was understood to mean ‘tongue of land’.
  • Foster Fyans orders Buckley to assemble Aboriginal people and his census of Aboriginal people in the Geelong region counts 297 Wathaurong within 30 miles of Geelong.
  • Buckley resigns from working with the white authorities dismayed his engagement as translator is not working to the advantage of the Wathaurong.
  • Reports of poisoning of Aboriginal people on ‘Tarrone’ near Port Fairy, West Melbourne. Flour is poisoned and left in shepherds’ huts.
  • Geelong township surveyed and land ‘sales’ begin. Fyans chooses land on the Barwon River.

Wathaurong are banned from the streets of Geelong. Police are given authority to keep Aborigines out Corio.

Governor Bourke of NSW orders the establishment of the Native Police in the Port Phillip district (now Victoria). Aboriginal troopers, trained to track and disperse groups of Aboriginal people, are part of the force. It is disbanded in 1853.

Torquay Timelines

Truganini dies in Hobart aged 73. Against her wishes the Tasmanian Museum displays her bones. 100 years later members of the Tasmanian Aboriginal community cremate and scatter them onto the water. The Tasmanian government does not recognise the Aboriginal heritage of people of Aboriginal descent and claims the “last Tasmanian Aboriginal person” has died. A falsehood many still believe today.

  • Willem Baa Ni ip, the last traditional Wathaurong person, dies at Geelong Hospital of tuberculosis after living alone for 15 years since the last of his contemporaries died.
  • The Victorian Aborigines Protection Act excludes ‘half-castes’ from their definition of an Aboriginal person. As a result nearly half the residents of the missions and reserves have to leave their homes.
  • Victorian Board for the Protection of Aborigines is empowered to apprentice Aboriginal children when they reach 13. Children require permission to visit their families on the stations.
  • Men and women of the Coranderrk Aboriginal Reserve (60 kms north-east from Melbourne) fight the Aboriginal Protection Board which wants to break up the successful community that’s growing hops and doing better than neighbouring white farms. Walking to Melbourne, they deliver a petition to the Victorian government. But the majority of the residents are removed under the Protection Act which cripples Coranderrk as an enterprise. The government closes it in 1924.

A judgement of the Lords of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council finds that New South Wales, at the time of the arrival of the British, was in fact “a tract of territory practically unoccupied, without settled inhabitants or settled law” and that it was “peacefully annexed”. [1] The ruling goes on to become the skeleton of Australian law with no court daring to rule against it. [2]

Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.

All adult females in South Australia, including Aboriginal females, win the right to vote.

Torquay Timelines

Segregationist practices continue until 1960s with separate sections in theatres, separate wards in hospitals, hotels refusing drinks and schools able to refuse enrolment to Aboriginal children. The governments in the 1930s said children had to be taken away from their parents because the influence of their own communities was immoral and they were in danger of abuse and neglect, but the real agenda then was to de-Aboriginalise them. — Michael Anderson, Aboriginal leader [1]

  • Central Australian Aboriginal painter, Albert Namatjira, holds his first exhibition in Melbourne. All 41 works are sold in three days. He combines European painting techniques (mainly watercolours) with subject matter from his native land.
  • Aborigines Progressive Association declares Australia Day, a national day of mourning.
  • World War II begins. Although Aboriginal people are not recognised as citizens, two Aboriginal military units are established and some Aboriginal people serve in other sections of the armed forces as formally enlisted soldiers, sailors or airmen. Aboriginal people serve in Europe, the Middle East, the Pacific and New Guinea.
  • Aboriginal children continue to be removed from their families during the period 1939 to 1945, including children whose fathers are at war overseas.
  • The first-ever mass strike of Aboriginal people in Australia occurs, called the Cummeragunja Walk-off. Over 150 Aboriginal people pack-up and leave Cummeragunja Aboriginal Station in protest at the cruel treatment and exploitation of residents by the management. They walk 66kms and cross the border from New South Wales into Victoria in contravention of the rules of the New South Wales Protection Board. The opera Pecan Summer tells the story of the walk-off.
  • White Australia policy succeeds: 99% of Australia’s 7 million people are white.
  • In the 1940s most federal social security benefits are extended to Aboriginal people.

The Child Endowment Act is passed but declares no endowment should be paid to dependent Aboriginal people.

  • Darwin is bombed by the Japanese. In Arnhem Land, Aboriginal people make up a special reconnaissance unit in defence of Australia. Northern Territory Aboriginal missions are evacuated. Many Aboriginal people evacuated after the bombing are transferred to ‘control camps’ in Victoria, South Australia or New South Wales and some never return. Restrictions are placed on Aboriginal movement, especially of women.
  • 19-year old Len Waters becomes the first Aboriginal military pilot to be accepted into the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). [1] He is also the only Aboriginal fighter pilot to serve during World War II. Len left the air force in 1946 and died in 1993 aged 69. Streets in ACT and Sydney bear his name, and in October 2020 the Department of Defence named a building at RAAF Base Williamtown (30 kms north-east of Newcastle, NSW) after him. [2]
  • Formation of the Torres Straight Light Infantry Battalion. 880 men enlist, about 90% of the total male population of the Islands. Their discipline and work ethic sees them in high regard among fellow soldiers. In small groups they patrolled the islands close to Papua New Guinea monitoring the movements of Japanese forces. Yet, they only receive half of the wages of their peers.
  • 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.

Aboriginal children need a medical certificate to attend public schools.

The Commonwealth Citizenship and Nationality Act 1948 for the first time makes all Australians, including all Aboriginal people, Australian citizens. But at state level they still suffer legal discrimination.

  • Aboriginal people are given the right to enrol and vote at federal elections provided they are entitled to enrol for state elections or have served in the armed forces.
  • The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide is ratified by Australia. It comes into force in 1951.
  • A group of Aboriginal stockmen including Ampilatwatja man Banjo Morton walk off from the Lake Nash Cattle Station demanding wages instead of rations. After a short period they are paid one pound a week. It is the first time Aboriginal stockmen walked off disputing labour conditions in the NT.

Torquay Timelines

Referendum to amend the Australian constitutions in ways that gave Aboriginal people citizenship rights, free movement, right to choose their government & have uniform laws made by the Commonwealth for all Aboriginals irrespective of the state that they lived in.

First named Aboriginal person honoured on an Australian stamp. Artist Albert Namatjira appears on the Famous Australians issue. He was also the first Aboriginal person to be accepted as a citizen of the Commonwealth in 1957.

  • 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.
  • Aboriginal player Evonne Goolagong wins Wimbledon Women’s Singles title. Later receives Australian of the Year award.
  • The Whitlam (Labor) government abolishes the White Australia Policy and introduces a policy of self-determination. The change provides the right to cultural and linguistic maintenance and management of natural resources on Aboriginal land.
  • Aboriginal Tent Embassy outside Parliament House, Canberra, calling for land rights & compensation. Federal Government agrees that Aborigines could hold leases & form pastoral companies.
  • Racial Discrimination Act is passed in the federal parliament.
  • Yorta Yorta man Sir Douglas Ralph Nicholls is appointed Governor of South Australia. He is the first non-white person to serve as the governor of an Australian state, and is the only Aboriginal person to have held an official’s office. He retires due to ill health on 22 April 1977.
  • Aboriginal Land Rights (NT) allows Aborigines to own traditional land & make claims for Crown Lands.
  • Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency is established, rapidly achieving a 40% reduction in the number of Aboriginal children in children’s homes.
  • Neville Perkins (Australian Labor Party) is elected to the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly, becoming the first Aboriginal person to hold a shadow portfolio. He is appointed deputy leader of the Northern Territory Australian Labor Party.
  • The Wurdi Youang stone arrangement on Wathaurong lands is declared a protected archaeological site.

Land titles are granted to 15 Aboriginal Land Trusts in the Northern Territory.

  • Cyril Kennedy (Australian Labor Party) is the first Aboriginal person to be elected to the Victorian Legislative Council, representing the electorate of Waverley.
  • The first Aboriginal parliamentarian, Neville Bonner, receives the Australian of the Year award.

Michael Anderson, the only surviving founder of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, becomes the first Aboriginal Australian to address the United Nations.

Victorian Premier John Cain announces legislation is to be passed recognising the Aboriginal ownership of the Framlingham Forest near Warrnambool.

Torquay Timelines

  • Victorian Greens members elect Gunnai-Kurnai/Gunditjmara woman Lidia Thorpe as the new (and first Aboriginal) Greens senator for Victoria.
  • The Victorian government commits to create a truth and justice commission to “formally recognise historical wrongs and ongoing injustices” against Aboriginal people, the first state or territory to do so. [5] The commission will work in parallel with the treaty process already under way, and will be designed and led by the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria.

The Victorian government announces an inquiry into the ongoing effects of the violent dispossession and genocide of Aboriginal people during colonisation by the British empire and racist policies by Australian governments. Named the Yoo-rrook justice commission, after the Wemba Wemba/Wamba Wamba word for ‘truth’, it will investigate both historical and ongoing injustices against Aboriginal people and it part of the truth-telling process the Uluru Statement From the Heart called for.

Birthday Celebrations

The school celebrated its 100 years with 650 students

The timeline has been adapted from more detailed timelines located on the websites below.