Charles Perkind Essay

1271 words - 6 pages

Since Australia was colonised, many indigenous and white Australians have worked together to obtain the best possible outcome for indigenous Australians. Indigenous Australians initiated the progress to improve and develop the outcomes for their communities but could not have accomplished a superior outcome without the assistance of white Australians. It was through the work Aboriginal activists, such as Charles Perkins, that they were able to achieve positive outcomes for indigenous Australians. Throughout the course of the freedom ride in 1965 and the 1967 referendum, it is noted that white Australians also played a principal role in providing beneficial results for indigenous Australians. ...view middle of the document...

While attending Sydney University Perkins was president of the Student Action For Aborigines, this was a group of students who were mostly white Australians, who all whished to see indigenous people better situated in life (Dawkins 2000). He later become the head of the Department of Aboriginal affairs, where again he was in charge of many white Australians dedicating their lives to indigenous affairs (Barwick 2007). Aden Ridgeway an indigenous Australian in federal parliament said about Perkins "love or hate him no one could help but admire the man for his passion, his commitment and his life long work in the struggle to get better opportunities for his people" (Barwick 2007). Clearly, it is evidenced Perkins worked hard to ward direct white Australians to racial equality.

Furthermore in 1965 Charles Perkins led the freedom ride, accompanied by 29 other students from Sydney University (Berlow 2003). For most of the journey Perkins was the only Aboriginal person on the bus (Curthoy 2002). Gary Williams also involved in SAFA - Student Action For Aborigines - was wary of being in towns that were not his own country, and joined the tour at Bowraville (Curthoy 2002). The rest of the students were non-indigenous and were lost in media attention as the media was focused mainly on Charles Perkins (Curthoy 2002). The news of the Australian freedom ride was world wide. An article in a South African newspaper in 1965 says the following about Perkins "..If Mr. Perkins and other young Aboriginals do develop as leaders of their people the problem of Australia's aborigines will be much nearer solution". Although this South African reporter is correct in saying that indigenous Australia needs more leaders that will help them advance into a multicultural society, he is forgetting that without the support of the government and the public, their cause is harder to achieve. The event was a success through the work of both Charles Perkins and the other none indigenous Australians therefore it is through the initiation of indigenous Australians and the support of white Australians that fairness for aborigines could be accomplished.

The freedom ride opened the eyes of all Australians to the discrimination against Aboriginal Australia. Despite the efforts of Perkins, without the support of the twenty-eight non-Aboriginal students that toured country towns (Barwick 2007) the freedom ride would not have been as successful even. Many saw Charles Perkins as the driving force behind the freedom ride and do not acknowledge the efforts of the whit Australians. On the contrary a white student stated "We weren't whit students breezing in and kicking up a fuss about Aboriginal rights we were going to try and talk to Aboriginal people and get their own version of their actual conditions" (Curthoy 2002). This quote suggests that the whit students were contributing to the cause and assisting Charles Perkins. This is also corroborated by a quote from Pat Waford an indigenous...

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