Artefacts about Missions, reserves & stations
The Aborigines Progressive Association fought for full citizenship rights for Aboriginal peoples, including social security benefits. They organised, protested and addressed political leaders. They spread their message through the first Aboriginal-led publication, The Australian Abo Call.
Community leaders from South Australian missions questioned legislation that said they had to move away from missions to get government payments.
Doreen Kartinyeri’s life story holds details of a number of issues that her family faced in accessing government payments, including issues with living on missions, exemptions and child removal.
As an Elder, Ruth Hegarty fought for justice on behalf of Aboriginal people in Queensland who had been denied access to government payments and fair wages. Her activism was spurred on by her own experiences.
When Aboriginal pensioners raised concerns about their treatment at Cherbourg settlement and asked for direct payments, the government denied their request and refused to provide further support.
Believing Aboriginal people couldn’t manage their own money, the New South Wales Government monitored and reported on how Aboriginal people spent federal government payments once they started receiving them.
When a fiery debate broke out in the House of Representatives over the government’s handling of rolling out payments to Aboriginal people, it revealed emerging issues in South Australia.
After observing the mistreatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who were forced to live at Palm Island Reserve, one resident asked the federal government for help, including asking for a review into how reserve managers were using people’s government payments.