Friday, 12 April 2013

"the life of the community fifty years hence is today our responsibility"

Last year I stumbled across a letter in the National Archives written to Ian Clunies Ross on 26th January, 1957 by Mrs Dorothy Harden, a widowed pensioner.

Mrs Harden thanked Clunies Ross for his Australia Day address. She included One pound, a substantial sum from her pension, towards a scholarship for Aboriginal students.

She had also written to the Prime Minister, she said, asking “Mr Menzies would he grant a percentage of all the mineral wealth of our land...for the education and rehabilitation of the Aborigines."

"I have no illusions that my faint cry will be heeded, but will not you who can shout and did in your Australia day address, should and keep on shouting, until a fair dealing is showed these, not them, but fellow countrymen of ours.

Today is our Anniversary Day, but although a fourth generation Australian I can take no pride in it when all about us at Lismore are settlements of the original owners of this land pushed into unwanted corners…although we are not responsible for the misdeeds of our forefathers, what place the Aborigine holds in the life of the community fifty years hence is today our responsibility”

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