Blackbirding exhibition, BOB Hawke Centre, Adelaide, South Australia - May 2018
Between the 1860's to 1906, over 50,000 Pacific Islanders
from Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, New Caledonia and Fiji were brought over as
slaves and as indentured labourers to work on the sugarcane farms of Queensland
and NSW. In May of 2018, an exhibition was done to raise awareness of
this piece of Australian History. The project was the result of the
collaborative effort of the University of South Australia, David and Helen
Bunton and the Pacific Islands Council of South Australia.
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On easter Friday 2019, a group of Fijian youth and young adults visited an Aboriginal community called Raukkan, about 80 kilometers, south east of Adelaide city. Raukkan, which means "meeting place" in the Ngarrindjeri language, was for thousands of years an important meeting place for Ngarrindjeri "lakalinyeri" (clans) and the location of the Grand Tendi, the parliament of the Ngarrindjeri people.The Grand Tendi was composed of men elected from each of the eighteen lakalinyeri who then elected from its members the Rupulle or leader. English explorer Charles Sturt first encountered the Ngarrindjeri at Raukkan, who fed the starving Sturt and his party. In 1860 the Aborigines' Friends' Association was granted 107 hectares in the area and established a mission at Raukkan,which had been named "Point McLeay" by T. B. Strangways in 1837.George Taplin had selected the site, and with others such as the Rev. F. W. Cox helped build the school, church and mission station to care for the local Aboriginals, and spent the next twenty years in that service.It was intended by the Aborigines' Friends' Association to help the Ngarrindjeri people, but could never be self-sufficient farming due to the poor quality of the soil in the area. Land clearing by farmers nearby also limited the ability for hunting, and other crafts and industries also met with difficulties due to changing environment and competition from nearby towns. In 1916, responsibility for Raukkan moved to South Australia's Chief Protector of Aborigines,and since 1974 it has been administered by the Ngarrindjeri people themselves and renamed Raukkan in 1982. Raukkan Aboriginal School is in the town.In the 2016 Australian census the population was 106 persons, all of whom identified themselves as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
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On the 25th of April 2019, a group of Pacific Islanders who live in Adelaide, were privileged to be given an opportunity to learn about this piece of Australian history on the 'Stolen Generation' through the eyes of someone who experienced it, Aunty Mona Olsson.
This gathering was held in a place called Colebrook, (now Reconciliation Park) along Shepherds hill rd., Eden Hill, an old venue where children were housed when they were taken away from their families. Aunty Mona had lived in Colebrook in her mid-teens.
The Stolen Generations (also known as Stolen Children) were the children of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent who were removed from their families by the Australian Federal and State government agencies and church missions, under acts of their respective parliaments. These Acts were in place from 1910 to 1970. These children, known as the Stolen Generation, were often under five years of age. They were taken away from their families because the government did not believe in the future of the Aborigines. They thought it would be better to bring them to white families. Aunty Mona Olsson is Yankunytjatjara women from Mimili in the APY lands. Aunty Mona was visiting families in Ernabella as a five year old when she was taken away by police. Thank you aunty Mona for your story of courage, determination and forgiveness.
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On the 25th of April of each year, the people of Maluku ( a group of islands between West Papua and East Timor) also known as 'Spice Islands' commemorate the day of their independence before they were invaded by Indonesia. Maluku is right on the edge of the Melanesian region of the Pacific Islands and Asia. Traditionally, the Malukuan's are recognised as a Melanesians. This event was supported and endorsed by PICSA.
Prior to 1950 Maluku was an independent sovereign nation, after
years of being a Dutch colony, In the early part of 1950 the indonesian army
invaded Maluku and since that day, Maluku has been under the Indonesian rule.
This gathering is to commemorate and acknowledge the sovereignty of Maluku and to continue to support Maluku's fight of independence from the oppressive
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Graeme Isa’ako is of Samoan and Maori descent. Graeme grew up in the in the inner suburbs of Sydney where he developed his skills in signing, dancing and acting.
On the 25th April, Graeme and his wife and two young children spent some time with a small group of Pacific Islanders at the 5 EBI radio station, in Adelaide city.Graham gave an interview on the Pacific Islands radio program and also gave a live demonstration of his musical talents by singing a couple of the songs his currently singing at the musical ‘Aladdin the musical’ where he plays the lead role as Aladdin.
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On Sunday the 19th of May, a group of Timor Leste students studying in some of the university in South Australia got together to commemorate the restoration of independence of East Timor from the ruthless and barbaric Indonesian regime. The event took place at the Oasis centre, Flinders University.
This momentous event of the restoration of East Timor independence
took place on the 20th of May 2002. Here is a bit of information on the long and
complex history of East Timor. The present division, and exact boundaries,
between Indonesia and Timor Leste arose from the division of the island of
Timor between Portuguese and Dutch colonial administrations. The Portuguese
colonised the northeast half of Timor, beginning with the city of Dili, in the
1700?s. A treaty with the Dutch in 1914 fixed the boundaries with ?Dutch Timor?
to the southwest. The people of East Timor fought bravely and ferociously
during World War II against the Japanese, but ultimately, East Timor fell into
Japanese hands. After World War II, it was returned to Portugal, but the
independence movement soon sprang up and grew. In 1974, Portugal ?unofficially?
abandoned East Timor to itself, and a fear soon arose in Indonesia and beyond
that the new nation would turn Communist. Therefore, Indonesia, Australia, and
the US supported an invasion of the country which resulted in it being annexed
by Indonesia. But the UN never recognised the annexation. The people of East
Timor then resisted Indonesian rule, and this was repressed violently, with
some 100,000 people dying in the conflict over two decades? time. The 1991 Dili
Massacre eventually led to Indonesia allowing a referendum on independence in
1999, which was overwhelmingly approved. It took a few more years for the
process to be complete, and 20 May is the day when Timor Leste was functioning
again as a fully independent nation.