Conferences, 4Rs 2008

Font Size: 
Aboriginal rights movement
Heidi Norman

Last modified: 2008-09-15


This panel brings together three studies of different periods in the struggle for Aboriginal politics rights throughout the 20th century in NSW. They examine Aboriginal political activism to understand the way in which demands were framed and struggles responded to, contained and bureaucratised.

Maynard recovers the lost history of early 20th century Aboriginal political activism and resistance and demonstrates how the united movement of the Australian Aborigines Progressive Association (AAPA) shaped and informed Aboriginal political demands.

Norman examines the moment when much of the 20th century political activism came to a kind of crescendo with the passing in 1983 of legislation recognising Aboriginal land rights in NSW. She argues the recognition of Aboriginal land rights marked a critical change in relations between the state and Aboriginal people.

Morris examines the period following the passing of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act and the dramatic changes that took place in NSW in the 1980s. The changes serve to illustrate a series of political, economic and social changes that echo shifts in a globalising world and the historically contingent factors that shaped political debate around indigenous rights in NSW.

About the speakers:

Professor John Maynard is the Chair of Aboriginal Studies/Head of Wollotuka, School of Aboriginal Studies at the University of Newcastle. he is an Australian Research Council post-doctoral fellow and a Deputy Chair of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) in Canberra. His traditional roots lie with the Worimi people of Port Stephens - New South Wales. He was the recipient of the Aboriginal History (ANU) Stanner Fellowship for 1996 and the New South Wales Premiers Indigenous History Fellowship for 2003-04. He gained his PhD in 2003 examining the rise of early Aboriginal political activism. John was a member of the Executive Committee of the Australian Historical Association 2000-2002 and has worked with and within many Aboriginal communities urban, rural and remote. He is the author of four books including Fight for Liberty and Freedom: the origins of Australian activism.

Heidi Norman is a Senior Lecturer in Social and Political Change, Faculty of
Arts & Social Sciences, UTS. She is currently undertaking her doctorate on the political history of the NSW Aboriginal Land Rights Act. Her other research has included on the NSW Aboriginal Rugby League Knockout competition and more recently with the support of the NSW Premiers Indigenous History Fellowship she is researching economic and social change in Redfern. Her family are from the Gamilaroi nation in N-W NSW.

Dr Barry Morris is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Newcastle.
He has contributed years of research into Indigenous issues and race
relations in Australia. His approach has developed out of the insight
that it is necessary to explore the cultural logic that has informed
exclusionary practices in Australia rather than liberal approaches
couched in more universal expressions of social or civil rights and,
more recently, human rights. Dr Morris has contributed to an increased
international and theoretical interest in localised as well as
national expressions and practices of social exclusion and inclusion.
He is currently an Academic Research Member of the Wollongong-
Newcastle Centre for Asia Pacific Social Transformation Studies


Aboriginal political rights

Conference registration is required in order to view papers.