Monday, October 19, 2009

From the Archives: Cummeragunja - Part I

Over the next few weeks I’ll be presenting a series of articles. Each will be among those that I’ve found relating to various ancestors whose lives have been recorded in some small way, in the online newspaper archives of the National Library of Australia.

Due to the poor quality of some of the article scans, I’ll be reproducing the transcripts that I’ve placed onto the archive site.

In chronological order, I'll begin by posting the articles relating to the struggles at Cummeragunja (various spelling variants), and the eventual walk-off by a majority of the residents following my grandfather's arrest.

The following article is from the Melbourne Argus,  Saturday - 4 March, 1939.

Natives Leave Station
SYDNEY, Friday. 
Reference to unrest at the Cummerogunga Aboriginal station which had resulted in the departure of several Aborigines, was made in the Legislative Assembly today.    
The Chief Secretary (Mr Gollan) was asked by Mr Davidson (Industrial Labour, Cobar) whether he had called for a report and if not whether he would have an independent inquiry regarding Aborigines who had left the Cummeragunga aboriginal station and crossed the  Murray River into Victoria and whether they had migrated to Victoria because of  mental hardship imposed upon them by the Administration.
Mr Lawson (UCP, Murray) asked Mr  Gollan vvhether he would inquire whether  a good deal of the trouble was due to a person from Sydney visiting the area and causing trouble. If so would he take steps to see that there was no repetition of it.
Mr Gollan replied that there had been a little unrest at the Aboriginal station but it was not a fact that the Aborigines had moved because of unkind treatment. It was due to a great extent to a certain man who had been given permission to address the Aborigines at the station. He had had that permission cancelled.
He added that every consideration had been shown to the Aborigines and if they returned to the station they would be treated in the same generous manner as the Aborigines at other stations. This particular man named Patten, who was not a full-blooded Aborigine, would be brought before the Court on March 10.

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