Mock Justice: World Conservation and Australian Aborigines in Interwar Switzerland

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Fiona Paisley


On June 24, 1921, an Aboriginal man, Anthony Martin Fernando, walked into the offices of Der Bund, a leading progressive newspaper in Berne, Switzerland. Several days later, a highly critical account of colonial rule in Australia appeared in the pages of the newspaper, its centrepiece a letter written by Fernando himself. Encouraged by the idea of minority rights recently described by the League of Nations, Fernando appealed to the Swiss people for their support of self-rule for indigenous peoples in the settler colonies. Only through League of Nations mandate over reserve lands, governed by Switzerland or the Netherlands, he advised, could the just future of the Aboriginal race be assured in Australia.

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