Meet Our Curators: NAIDOC Week

During NAIDOC week, meet Social History curator, Judith Hickson, whose talk will focus on the historical background behind two recently acquired objects from the Museum’s State social history collection.  Each of these objects addresses different aspects of the struggle for Indigenous rights in Queensland.

The first, a stamp produced by Australia Post to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the historic 1967 referendum, was designed by local Goreng Goreng artist, Rachel Sarra.  More commonly known as the 1967 Referendum, the Australian Referendum 1967 was a pivotal moment in the history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The legislative and political impact of the 1967 Referendum was to enable, and thereby compel, the Federal government to take action in the area of Aboriginal Affairs to end the discriminatory practices of State governments, such as Queensland, and to introduce policies to encourage self-determination and financial security for Aboriginal people.  An overwhelming ninety percent of voters voted yes, giving the Federal Government a clear mandate to implement policies affecting the lives of all Aboriginal people.

The second object is a small painting by John Pampeya  Koowarta, a Wik elder and traditional owner of land at Archer River Bend in Cape York.  A prominent land rights activist, John Koowarta was one of a number of Aboriginal stockmen whose plan to purchase a pastoral lease on an Archer river cattle station in 1976 was not approved by then Queensland Premier, Joh Bjelke Petersen, who did not support Aboriginal people acquiring large areas of land. When John Koowarta lodged a complaint with the Human Rights Commission under the federal Racial Discrimination Act 1975, the Queensland Government responded by taking action in the Supreme Court of Queensland arguing that the Racial Discrimination Act was not valid under the Australian Constitution. The case then went to the High Court to determine the constitutional issue: Koowarta v Bjelke-Petersen [1982]. This landmark case later became the basis for the Wik land claim.

Warning:  The material and topics discussed contain references to  past events and deceased persons and may cause distress for some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander attendees. 


When: Wednesday 10 July 2019 

Where: Discovery Centre, Level 4

Time: 1:00 - 2:00pm

Cost: Free

Event Details

10 July 2019, 01:00 PM - 02:00 PM
Level 4 Discovery Centre

Of Interest