Civil Rights Movement


The Founding of the Cape Colony


Jan van Riebeeck, who was a part of the Dutch East India company, formed the Cape Colony near Table Bay in Southern Africa. The Cape Colony was mainly formed as a way for the Dutch East India company to continue their trading with Asia.

Arrival of the first British Fleet in Australia


In 1788, on the 18th of January, the first fleet arrived in Botany Bay lead by Captain Arthur Phillips. The fleet consisted of 9 ships that entered the bay over three days. Within a few days there was Aboriginal resistance after the primary meeting.

The Transitioning of the Cape Colony


The Cape Colony was a major trading port for the Dutch East India Company, that originated in the Netherlands. The colony was stolen from its creators by the British in 1795. The British held the Cape Colony until 1803, where it was given back to The Dutch East India Company. In 1806, the Colony was once again ceded to the British.

First Recorded Battle between the Aboriginal people and the British


The Richmond Hill battle has been considered as the first recorded battle between the Aboriginals and the British that were occupying Australia. It has been thought that this was the first battle that the Aboriginals engaged in to defend their country.

The beginning of the ‘Black Wars’


The ‘Black Wars’ were a period of fighting and resistance between the Aboriginals and the British settlers. The wars lasted for six years and occurred in the Hawkesbury and Parramatta areas.

The beginning of the ‘Black Wars of Tasmania’


1830, was the official beginning of the Black Wars of Tasmania, however it could be debated that these wars started in 1803. During 1830, Governor Arthur attempted to forcefully remove the Aboriginal people from Eastern Australia to the Tasmanian Peninsula, this attempt failed. Also in 1830 the Aboriginals residing in Tasmania were forced to move and settled on Flinders Island. Many of the Aboriginals living on Flinders Island died due to the harsh living conditions.

The Boers Leave The Cape Colony

1835 - 1840

The Boers, who were descended from the original Dutch settlers began to leave the Cape Colony. This transition was called the ‘Great Trek’ and during this journey the Boers found the Orange Free State and the Transvaal.

Treaty Attempt


During 1835, John Batman made the first attempt to make a treaty with the Aboriginal people. To do this Batman ‘bought’ 243,000 hectares with 20 pairs of blankets, 30 tomahawks, other articles and a yearly tribute. The Governor does not recognise the treaty and the purchase is void. This was the only attempt made by the settlers to create a treaty with the Aboriginal people.

The Boers Began To Gain Independence

1852 - 1859

During 1852, the Boers were beginning to gain independence from the British Empire. In 1852 the British granted the Boers to have limited self-government in the Transvaal. In the late 1850’s the Boers proclaimed themselves a Republic.

Enrollment of Aboriginal Children


In the early 1870’s Aboriginal children are beginning to be enrolled in schools in NSW. By 1880, 200 Aboriginal children were in public schools.

The British Seize More Control

1877 - 1879

After over a decade of the Boers having freedom, the British seized control over the Transvaal in 1877 by annexing them. In 1879, the British defeat the Zulus in Natal, which had separated from the Cape Colony in 1856.

The First Anglo-Boer War

1880 - 1881

After the British annexed the Transvaal, in 1880 the Boers rebelled against the British. This rebellion fuelled the first Anglo-Boer War which ended in a negotiated peace. This peace allowed for the Transvaal to be restored as a Republic.

The Beginning of the Second Anglo-Boer War


During 1899 and after the Gold Rush in the Transvaal in the mid 1880s, the British gathered on the border of the Transvaal. The British ignored an ultimatum to disperse, this ignited the second Anglo-Boer War.

The Creation of the Commonwealth of Australia


In January 1901, the six colonies in Australia, formed together to create the Commonwealth of Australia, the six states in the Federation. The Commonwealth excluded Aboriginal people from the census of Australia. The Parliament also passed the Immigration Restriction Act and the Pacific Island Labourers Act, which also signifies the beginning of the White Australia Policy.

Treaty of Vereeniging


The Treaty of Vereeniging was created in 1902, and was the official end of the second Anglo-Boer War. Part of this treaty entailed that the Transvaal and the Orange Free State were self-governing colonies of the British Empire.

The NSW Aborigines Act

1909 - 1910

Following difficulties in NSW Public Schools, NSW creates schools specifically for Aboriginal children, called the NSW Aborigines Act. This Act was passed and Aboriginal children are banned from attending Public Schools by the request of the European community.

Union of South Africa


In 1910, the Union of South Africa was formed. The union was created by the British colonies of Natal and the Cape Colony. Included in this union was the Boer republics of the Transvaal and the Orange Free State.

The Land Act


In 1913, restrictions were placed on the black people in the provinces. The Land Act, ensured that all black people were not allowed to buy land outside of reserves, unless they were from the Cape Province.

Aboriginal Ordinance Act


In 1918, the Aboriginal Ordinance Act was passed by the Northern Territory. Part of this act was that Aboriginal people could not drink, possess or supply alcohol or methylated spirits, could not come within 2 chains of licensed premises, have firearms, marry non-Aborigines without permission or have sex across the colour line.

The Union Act


The Union of South Africa parliament installs the Union Act. This Act ensures that the country is a Sovereign Independent State. This removed the last legal authority that the British had over South Africa.

The Assimilation of the Aboriginal People


The Federal Government adopts the assimilation of the Aboriginal people as an official policy. Half castes are assimilated into White Society, even if it is against their will. All Aboriginal People are banned from living a tribal life and must be educated, if the Aborigines are not educated they must live on reserves.

Day of Mourning


In January 1938, a day of mourning is declared by the the Aboriginal Progressive Association. This is the beginning of Aboriginal protests against inequality, injustice, dispossession of land and protectionist policies. During this time, the European settlers celebrated the 150 years of settlement. As part of this celebration, Aboriginal people are trucked to Sydney to participate in a re-enactment of the landing in 1788. If the Aboriginals did not participate they were threatened with starvation.

The Commonwealth Citizenship and Nationality Act


The Commonwealth Citizenship and Nationality Act is amended to include a new category of “Australian Citizenship” to all Australians, this includes the Aboriginal people. However, despite this new development in Human Rights for Aborigines, they are still discriminated against at a state level.

The Apartheid Policy


In 1948 the National Party (NP) came into power, this meant that South Africa was under the control of an all-white government. Apartheid, meaning ‘separateness’ enforced existing policies for racial segregation.

Group Areas Act


The NP passed the Group Areas Act, meaning that the black and white communities were further segregated. The population was also classified by race. The political party, African National Congress (ANC) began to respond to the NP with campaigns of civil disobedience which was led by Nelson Mandela. The Communist Party was also banned.

Atomic Testing


Atomic tests are conducted in South Australia at Maralinga lands at Emu. These tests are given the name Operation Totem and as a result, many Aborigines suffer from radiation sickness due to the testing.

The African National Congress

1960 - 1961

During 1960, the ANC was banned and seventy black demonstrators were killed in Sharpeville, furthering building animosity between the white and black people. In 1961, South Africa left the Commonwealth and was declared a Republic. Mandela also began to lead the military aspect of the ANC, which launched the sabotage campaign.

Commonwealth Electoral Act


The Commonwealth Electoral Act is amended to include Aboriginal People in the voting process. Aboriginal people in Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory are given the right to vote in Federal Elections. The Aboriginal People are not forced to register to vote, but if they have registered, voting is compulsory. In NSW, the Alcohol ban placed on the Aborigines is removed.

Bark Petition


In July 1963, a petition against mining in the area of Gove Peninsula is signed by the senior men of the affected clans of the Aboriginal people. This petition was signed on a peice of bark, and then in August was presented to the Governor General. However, due to lack of understanding of Aboriginal culture, the Federal Government rejects the petition due to insignificant figures. The Aboriginal Political structure was so misunderstood that despite multiple senior clan members signing the petition it was rejected.

Nelson Mandela Imprisoned


The African National Congress leader, Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment. South Africa was also banned from participating in the Olympic Games due to their refusal to abolish Apartheid.

The South Australian Prohibition of Discrimination Act


During 1966, South Australia passed the South Australian Prohibition Discrimination Act, which meant that all types of race and colour discrimination in employment, accommodation, legal contracts and public facilities was banned. South Australia also passed the South Australian Lands Trust Act which meant that land ownership and compensation to dispossessed Aboriginal people was provided.

Charles Perkins and Margaret Valadian are also the first ever Aboriginal University Graduates.

Commonwealth Referendum


During 1967, a referendum was held to determine the status of Aboriginal people as citizens of Australia. The referendum is passed and it ended the constitutional discrimination of the Aboriginal people. Aboriginal people are then included in the national census and the Federal Government can legislate for Aboriginal people. During this time all states abandon their laws and policies regarding discrimination against Aboriginal people except Queensland.

The Creation of the Tent Embassy


In 1972, outside of Parliament house the Tent Embassy is established and creates the Aboriginal Flag. The White Australia is finally abolished fully and the Department of Aboriginal Affairs is created.

The Soweto Uprising


In Soweto during 1976, black students began to riot and protest against Apartheid. This led to a clash between the black people and security forces. Approximately 600 people are killed during the clash which led to an uprising in Soweto. This uprising in Soweto soon spread across the country.

Aboriginal Land Rights Act


New South Wales recognises the dispossession and displacement of the Aboriginal People and the Aboriginal Land Rights Act is developed.

Aboriginal Deaths in Custody


The Prime Minister announced the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. This commission investigated the causes of deaths of the Aboriginal people that were held in custody.

The Return of the ANC


In 1990, the African National Congress is unbanned and Namibia became independent from South Africa. Nelson Mandela was also released after 27 years of prison and returned to the ANC. The current President FW de Klerk began to dismantle Apartheid.

Aboriginal Reconciliation


The Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths Custody produces a report, which includes a final recommendation to form a reconciliation between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Australians. A council for Aboriginal Reconciliation is then created by Parliament.

Eddie Mabo


The high court overturns terra nullius, the court also ruled that native titles exist over unalienated Crown land, national parks and reserves. This occurred due to the land rights case put forth by Eddie Mabo.

Government of National Unity


After the first non-racial elections, Nelson Mandela became president of South Africa and formed the Government of National Unity. South Africa is once again a member of the Commonwealth and all remaining sanctions are lifted. South Africa also takes a seat on the United Nations Assembly after 20 years of absence. Apartheid is officially removed with the new party in power.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission


Archbishop Desmond Tutu, was the chair for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission which began the hearings on human rights crimes. The hearings focused on the human rights violations made by the former government during Apartheid. The new Parliament also created a new constitution and the National Party withdrew from the coalition.

‘Bringing Them Home’


A report into the Stolen Generation is released called ‘Bringing Them Home’. This report recommends that a national ‘Sorry Day’ is established to commemorate the history and effects of removing the Aboriginal children from their families. The Prime Minister Howard Shore makes a personal apology to the Stolen Generation but refuses to make an apology on behalf of Australia.

Truth and Reconciliation Report


The Truth and Reconciliation Report is completed in 1998 and labels Apartheid a crime against human rights. The report also found the African National Congress guilty of violating human rights.

General and Local Elections

1999 - 2000

In 1999, the African National Congress won the general elections and Thabo Mbeki, takes over as President of South Africa. In December 2000, the ANC won the local elections with the opposition being beaten considerably.

Government Corruption


Jacob Zuma, President Mbeki’s deputy is relieved of his duty due to a corruption case. In 2005, South Africa’s biggest export comes to a standstill because approximately 100,000 gold miners strike over their pay.

Cases Against Zuma Are Dropped


Jacob Zuma, who was the former deputy president is acquitted of his rape allegations. He is then reinstated as the Deputy Leader of the ANC party. All corruption cases against Zuma are dismissed, which allowed him to make his bid for the Presidency. South Africa also became the fifth country in the world and the first African country to legalise same-sex marriage.

The ‘Sorry’ Speech


In February 2008, the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd makes a national apology on behalf of Australia to the Stolen Generation. The speech is famously known as the ‘Sorry’ speech.

Jacob Zuma Becomes President


A ruling is made that allowed state prosecutors to resume their corruption cases against Zuma, this is done months before the general election. In April, the Prosecutors drop their cases against Zuma and the ANC wins the general election. Jacob Zuma is then elected as President and the economy goes into recession for the first time in 17 years.

The Marikana Mine


In early 2012, members of a white extremist group attempted to overthrow the government and assassinate Nelson Mandela. Police open fired on miners in the platinum mine in Marikana, with many people being injured, killed and arrested. After prosecutors dropped the case against miners due to public outrage, the owner of the mines fired 12,000 miners due to striking.

Limitation of Farm Size


The ANC and Jacob Zuma announced their plan to reduce farm sizes and ban foreign farmland ownership. This plan was a long standing idea for the ANC in order to attempt to restore land back to black farmers. There was also anti-immigrant attacks in March and April, which lead to the deaths of several people.

President Jacob Zuma

2016 - 2017

In 2016 the President Jacob Zuma was accused of violating the constitution by not repaying public money to renovate his personal residence by the Supreme Court. In early 2017, Zuma was faced with his eighth motion of no-confidence but survived and is continuing his presidency.