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Aborigines Progressive Association

Aborigines Progressive Association

Source: Churinga, journal of the Aborigines Progressive Association, March 1966

The Aborigines Progressive Association (APA), an all-Aboriginal body, was formed in 1937 in New South Wales with Jack Patten as president and Bill Ferguson as secretary. The APA, together with William Cooper, was responsible for organising the Day of Mourning protest on Australia Day in 1938. The APA had three aims: full citizenship rights for Aboriginal Australians, Aboriginal representation in Parliament and abolition of the New South Wales Aborigines' Protection Board.

The APA operated until 1944. After a period of dormancy, it was revived in 1963 by hard-working, seasoned campaigners Bert Groves and Pearl Gibbs. They were fired up by their passion to improve the conditions of life for Aboriginal Australians, and were unhappy that the Aboriginal-Australian Fellowship was putting legislative reform before land.

In 1966, the New South Wales government set up a Parliamentary Committee to investigate Aboriginal welfare in New South Wales. The APA was asked to make a submission. Some prominent active members of the reformed APA were Joyce Clague, Dulcie Flower, Harriet Ellis, Ray Peckham, Chicka Dixon and Ken Brindle.

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