The Aboriginals Of Australia Essay

1990 words - 8 pages

Over the past 230 years, Aboriginals have protested in many different ways to gain rights, which they believe they are deserving of. Through aims of what they wanted to achieve, the processes they went through brought them disappointment over the poor results of some actions and pleasure over the success of others. Over those years, very few periods of protest have been as revelational or effective as the protests occurring between 1938 and 1972. During this period many different groups of Aboriginals have fought for the common cause of being recognised as people rather than interferences caught in the midst of Australians expansion as a nation.

One of the most significant Aboriginal attempts at equality of the 20th century was the Day of Mourning. This service occurred in 1938, 150 years since white settlement in Australia. While all white Australians celebrated what they considered the birth of their homeland, the Aboriginals mourned for the death of their homeland, as they knew it. Held in Sydney this protest gained great media attention. In the days following, Prime Minister Lyons met with the committee of the protest and listened to the plan that they had made for equality in Australia. The aim of this action was to gain recognition from the Australian people particularly the government of the fact that the white settlers invaded what was then aboriginal land. They wanted an action plan to be put into place to ensure equality between white and aboriginal Australians. Despite the Aboriginals believing they had achieved something through this protest, all efforts went unrewarded, as Lyons did nothing about the Aborigine’s plan for equality. Every subsequent Australia day had hosted to a day of mourning protest by the Aboriginal people. There were no positive results of this process except for the foundation of an annual event of protest, which would later become important as Aboriginals began to gain more recognition.

The Yirrkala Bark Petition of 1963 was a result of Governments giving native Aboriginal land to mining companies on a mining lease. The Aboriginals claimed that their land was being taken away from them without compensation. The aim of this particular protest was to gain back the land that had been given away through the mining lease and be apologised to by the Australian government. These aims are summarised in the aborigine’s simple desire to be accepted into the Australian community and to be granted rights as well as acknowledgment that they have ties to the land. The local Yirrkala elders signed an ornate and artistic petition to have the mining lease revoked. As a result, the government set up a committee to oversee the decision made and to mediate future decision on similar matters. Despite the lease going ahead, it was acknowledged that there were Aboriginal sacred sites on the land where the lease was valid and it was agreed that those sites would be protected. This decision alone didn’t have a great effect however...

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