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Petition to the King

Yorta Yorta leader William Cooper, the founder of the Australian Aborigines' League, launches a petition asking for parliamentary representation for Aboriginal Australians. There is no record of it ever being sent.

Petition to King George V, launched 1933

Petition to King George V, launched 1933

Document 11, Bain Attwood and Andrew Markus, 'Thinking black: William Cooper and the Australian Aborigines' League', Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra, 2004, pp. 35-36

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Day of Mourning

William Cooper joins forces with William Ferguson and Jack Patten from the Aborigines Progressive Association to plan a day of mourning, describing 26 January 1938 as the '150th anniversary of the whitemen's seizure of our country'. They protest against 'the callous treatment of our people by the whitemen' and called for education, new laws and citizenship status for Aboriginal Australians.

On 26 January 1938 a day of mourning was arranged by the Aborigines Progressive Association to protest 'the callous treatment of our people by the whitemen during the past 150 years'.

Day of Mourning: Australia Hall, Sydney, 1938

Audio Visual Archive, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, Canberra

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Australian Aborigines League, 26 January 1938.

Flyer advertising the Day of Mourning and protest

Courtesy Anti-Slavery Society, Bodleian Library, Oxford University, UK

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Indigenous men enlist

Great Britain declares war on Germany signalling the start of the Second World War for Australia. Hundreds of Aboriginal and Islander men enlist in the Australian armed forces between 1939 and 1945 and serve overseas.

Next: 1940-49 >