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Alick Jackomos recalls petition-gathering for the referendum with Doug Nicholls

Alick Jackomos recalls petition-gathering for the referendum with Doug Nicholls

Listen to Alick Jackomos by downloading audio [MP3 594kb]


We were given petitions and it was our job to get names on 'em. And Doug [Nicholls] and I - I was employed by the Advancement League then as a field officer. And we used to go up to Smith Street, Collingwood with a little card table outside of old Foy and Gibson's. It's not there any more. And Doug'd be yelling out 'give Aboriginals citizenship rights!' And he'd be dragging people. And Doug was like chewing gum to anyone because if he put his hand on them they'd come right to the table, you know? He could mesmerise them, Doug and get them there. And it was Doug's job to lead 'em to the table, and there's me sitting at the table getting people to sign. But we signed those petitions there but we also had a good spot outside the Collingwood football ground on home matches - outside the Collingwood members' stand. Now Collingwood supporters are black and white one-eyed. Normally they'd just rush into the grandstand to get their seat. But this particular day Doug Nicholls, again as they were walking in - and everybody knew Doug. I mean Doug was a household name. He was better known than Henry Bolte who was the Premier at the time. Soon as they see Doug, they couldn't resist Doug. So he leads 'em to the table and we'd get these petitions. And we got a lot of petitions signed and so did all the other workers in Victoria.

This extract of the Alick Jackomos interview was conducted by Leanne Miller on 12 December 1996. These interviews were undertaken to record the memories of members of the Federal Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders. This oral history project was a joint venture between Sue Taffe of Monash University and Koorie Arts Collective Inc. Leanne Miller from Koorie Arts Collective and Sue Taffe were the interviewers. This oral history collection of 29 interviews (audio tapes and transcripts) is held in the library of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies in Canberra.

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National petition campaign, 1962-63