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SubSection MarkerAustralian Hall

Australian Hall - 150-152 Elizabeth Street, Sydney

Venue for the first national Aboriginal civil rights gathering - the 'Day of Mourning and Protest' conference - on the 26 January 1938.


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Towards the end of the 1940s Aboriginal ex-servicemen were permitted to vote in elections. It was not until the referendum of 1967, however, that indigenous people were included in the census and given the right to vote. Demands made at the 1938 ‘Day of Mourning and Protest’ conference – in addition to voting rights – would shape the future direction of Aboriginal activism in Australia.

On 26 January 1938, Australian Hall was the venue for the first national Aboriginal civil rights gathering – ‘Day of Mourning and Protest’ . The venue was second choice after organisers of the gathering were denied permission to meet at Sydney Town Hall. At the time, Australian Hall was a popular venue for concerts, dances, and other social activities.

The conference took place as the nation celebrated the 150 year anniversary of the foundation of New South Wales. Approximately one hundred Aboriginal men and women from New South Wales, Victoria and possibly Queensland attended the conference. Messages of solidarity arrived from Aboriginal activists in all parts of Australia.

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