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Public support

The Lake Tyers campaign received public attention, especially after an article 'Human failure of Lake Tyers experiment' by Stuart Sayers was published in The Age newspaper. Sayers argued that Lake Tyers was a failure and should be closed.

The publication of this article generated community response to the issue: most letters to the editor opposed the idea that the settlement be abandoned and remaining Aboriginal residents be assimilated into the community.

Stuart Sayers, 'Human failure of Lake Tyers experiment'

The Age, 11 May 1963

More info on Stuart Sayers, 'Human failure of Lake Tyers experiment

Stan Davey was one of a number of readers who disagreed with him.

Stan Davey opposes the plan to close Lake Tyers.

Stan Davey to the Editor of The Age

Letters to the Editor, The Age, 14 May 1963

More info on Stan Davey to the Editor of The Age

Some respondents to Sayers' article stressed the right of the people to a fair go: to educational opportunities and the right to manage their own lives. Others referred to a people's right to their own homeland.

The writer of this Letter to the Editor put the argument that Lake Tyers should be developed along cooperative lines.

Letter to the Editor supports Lake Tyers as a cooperative

Letters to the Editor, The Age, 15 May 1963

More info on Letter to the Editor supports Lake Tyers as a cooperative

This citizen argued that Lake Tyers should be maintained as a 'home to which aborigines can return periodically'.

Letter to the Editor against proposed takeover of Lake Tyers

Letters to the Editor, The Age, 15 May 1963

More info on Letter to the Editor against proposed takeover of Lake Tyers

A response to the chairman of the Aborigines Welfare Board

A response to the chairman of the Aborigines Welfare Board

The Age, 15 May 1963

More info on A response to the chairman of the Aborigines Welfare Board

Anthropologist Lorna Lippmann wrote: 'These 4000 acres are regarded by the aboriginal people as their last remaining holding in a State which was once entirely theirs, and which was taken from them without any compensation whatever'.

Anthropologist Lorna Lippmann argued, among other things, that Lake Tyers was for Aborigines the 'last remaining holding in a State which was once entirely theirs'.

Lorna Lippmann to the Editor of The Age

Letters to the Editor, The Age, 17 May 1963

More info on Lorna Lippmann to the Editor of The Age

Overseas journalists hear of Australian human rights abuses

Others related the discussion about the future of Lake Tyers to wider concerns. At a United Nations seminar in Canberra in May 1963 Shirley Andrews, representing the London-based Anti-Slavery Society, drew attention to the fact that the police in all Australian states had dictatorial power over Aboriginal people, whose homes could be entered and searched without a warrant. The Age reported this seminar under the headline: 'Aust. Condemned on Treatment of Natives'.

Page 1 of 3 Shirley Andrews' speech in May 1963 at a United Nations seminar on police and human rights generated many letters to newspapers.

Shirley Andrews' speech at United Nations seminar on police and human rights

Box 3/4, Council for Aboriginal Rights (Vic.) Papers, MS 12913, State Library of Victoria

More info on Shirley Andrews' speech at United Nations seminar on police and human rights

Shirley Andrews represented the London Anti-Slavery Society at this seminar. Her short speech drew attention to infringements of Aboriginal people's human rights in Australia.

Australia condemned at United Nations seminar

The Age, 4 May 1963

More info on Australia condemned at United Nations seminar

Letters to the editor used Andrews' speech to draw attention to the infringement of human rights suffered by Aboriginal people in all states and the hypocrisy of Australian criticism of racist policy overseas.

Responding to <em>The Age</em>'s report on Shirley Andrews' speech, this writer argued that Aborigines should be treated 'as human beings with equal rights'.

Letter to the Editor responds to United Nations speech

Letters to the Editor, The Age, 8 May 1963

More info on Letter to the Editor responds to United Nations speech

A further march of Lake Tyers residents and supporters, another leaflet and petitions to the state government and to the United Nations seemed to offer some hope. In June 1964 Gladys O'Shane travelled from Cairns to offer her support to the Gippsland branch of the Union of Australian Women who were campaigning for Lake Tyers.

Gladys O'Shane is in the centre holding the booklet <em>Struggle for Dignity</em>, a state by state outline of the position of Aboriginal people, produced by the Council for Aboriginal Rights. Pauline Pickford is on her left, Margaret Oke on her right. The women are all members of the Union of Australian Women, Gippsland branch. Gladys O'Shane was visiting from Cairns, Queensland to assist with the campaign to save Lake Tyers.
Union of Australian Women
Gladys O'Shane is in the centre holding the booklet Struggle for Dignity, a state by state outline of the position of Aboriginal people, produced by the Council for Aboriginal Rights. Pauline Pickford is on her left, Margaret Oke on her right. The women are all members of the Union of Australian Women, Gippsland branch. Gladys O'Shane was visiting from Cairns, Queensland to assist with the campaign to save Lake Tyers.
Source: Courtesy Terry O'Shane

Further resources

People

Shirley Andrews
Stan Davey
Lorna Lippmann

Organisation

Anti-Slavery Society


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