Today marks the conclusion of NAIDOC Week for 2019, an event with roots that go back to 1938. Ahead of the 150th official government ‘celebrations’ of British colonial rule in Australia, William Cooper, a Yorta Yorta man from Victoria, together with William Ferguson and Jack Patton from New South Wales organised a ‘Day of Mourning’ rally and meeting in Sydney. They were protesting the official celebrations and calling on the government to address the poor social, economic, legal and political conditions for Indigenous people. More than 100 people turned up, triggering an invitation for Indigenous leaders to meet with then-Prime Minister Joseph Lyons. The day became an annual observance until 1957 when the National Aborigines Day Observance Committee formed and the date was moved to July. It was extended to run over a whole week from 1991.
Published: 14 July 2019