Disclaimer: This article is the opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect that of all Teachers' Christian Fellowship members.
Recommendations on the Modern History Stage 6 Draft Syllabus for consultation
In the draft Modern History Syllabus, Students study TWO case studies, choosing ONE from List A and ONE from List B. In list A we have Case Study A2.
"A2: People who changed Australia" "Content Focus"
Students investigate relevant historical sources and issues to examine Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who changed Australia. Board of Studies draft Stage 6 Modern History Syllabus
What follows are recommendations for changes to the proposed draft, and comments to ensure that religious motivations and actions are included as relevant. This will ensure respect for the Melbourne Declaration on Education.
The willing co-operation of significant leaders without a religious faith with those who have, is noted. This could be of help to teachers who have found no reason to respect people of faith. Because the Reformation is not included in the K-10 syllabus some teachers may expect that religious influences do not have to be taught even though significant Australian teachers of history informed those preparing the curriculum that they should.
Some students may aspire to do the sort of thing that Charles Perkins did. There is a responsibility on syllabus writers and those who approve syllabuses to ensure that students have an understanding of the range of supports including Christians and his spouse, and the experience and basic talent that he was gifted with.
Accounts of other people with lesser gifts or opportunities should be known so that students can still be confident of the contribution that they can make.
In respect to civics and citizenship education, syllabus writers need to keep in mind that syllabuses will develop students’ knowledge, skills and attitudes, in a practical and engaging way. Including a study of the Freedom Ride will be engaging.
The syllabus expresses the need to give examples of how students learn through active participation including: being aware that Jim Spigelman expressed concern to his headmaster about the lack of support for Colombo Plan students.
There needs to be a clear statement that the inclusion of Christian influences on Australian history has nothing to do with making Muslim people nor secular teachers uncomfortable, but are justified on relevant historical reasons.
There is no indication that a review of One Blood by Rev Dr John Harris has been completed and made available for nominees on BOSTES who are to approve the syllabus. It is a concern that a competent syllabus can be prepared without consulting this book.
That the above students’ investigation direction above be changed to what is suggested below:
"Students investigate relevant historical sources and issues including the influence of religious motivation and action to examine Aborigines and Torres Strait Islander peoples who changed Australia.”
That students are made aware that the majority of the members of the first Australian parliament, including those who identified as Christian, did not advocate that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should receive the vote.
That students are made aware that Roman Catholic Senator -------- (Name to be added) os one (perhapas the only) member of parliment who advocated that Aboriginal (and Torres Strait Islander?) people should receive the vote.
Australian Aboriginal Progressive Association
Students should be aware that the AAPA was founded by Charles Frederick (Fred) Maynard (1879-1944) He was a “lay preacher” for a church. (Prentis) A non Aboriginal person, Elizabeth McKenzie Haddon, a missionary to Aborigines, was fiercely committed to political protest on behalf of, and in collaboration with the AAPA (See Reference below)
This information supports Recommendation 1.
The “development of the Aboriginal political movement” should include mention of the missionaries including Maud Oldrey of Kempsey and Taree who advocated that Aboriginal children should attend public schools in 1904, as Aboriginal people were unable to do this. Information.
Day of Mourning
That the student's investigation direction concerning the Day of Mourning 1938 be changed to what is suggested below.
the development of the modern Aboriginal political movement, including the founding of the Australian Aboriginal Progressive Association, the Day of Mourning 1938 and the influence of William Cooper and Pearl Gibbs and William Ferguson and the influence of religious motivation and action. (Information)
Charles Perkins received significant support in his preparation for his life’s work from various Christians and Christian organisations. To give a balanced account of his biography this should be specifically mentioned in the syllabus. So many textbook and other sources ignore this so it needs to be specifically stated in the syllabus. Information
That the students investigation direction be changed to what is suggested below:-
the motivations and role of Faith Bandler in the 1967 Referendum and her contribution in changing views towards human rights and social justice issues and her ability to respect and work with people of Christian and other world views and encourage people to achieve common aims. Information
That the students investigation direction be changed to what is suggested below:-
the role of Eddie Mabo in campaigning for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander land and sea rights, the implications of the Native Title decision 1992 and the support given by historians, non Christians and Christians in his campaigning. Information
Co-operation between Indigenous and Non Indigenous
Examples of how non-Aboriginal people co-operated with Aboriginal people who may have received help and guidance, should be included in students’ investigations. Information
Charles Perkins in 3. Constructions of Modern Histories
That students are advised to consider the suggestions made in Recommendation 7 if they choose to do “a study of an historical individual such as Charles Perkins” as set out in the Draft Syllabus (page 35) “Investigating Modern History” (page 31) “3. The CONSTRUCTIONS OF MODERN HISTORIES”“ Information
Regarding the Case study from List A: Case Study A2:
Case study A2: "People who changed Australia” provides a useful way of examining Aboriginal History.
- It is of concern that no help is given to teachers in studying this unit relating to pointing out that Christian people and motivation was integral to people and organisations listed in a number of the subjects listed below.
- Because of the dominant secularist views of history, it is important to clearly state that Christian motivation is “relevant” to many of those who changed Australia regarding Indigenous people.
- To ignore this is to mislead students and teachers as well as embarrass members of Government who are trusting that a balanced syllabus is being prepared.
- This, I assume would apply to nominated members of the Board of BOSTES who are likely to trust syllabus writers treatment of history.
- In addition it is undermining the Melbourne Declaration on Education which expects that religion will be treated with respect and is to be used as a guide in preparing curriculum.
- I recognise that people who do not hold a religious faith have been very significant in a positive way in many areas of history.
- From a conversation with Faith Bandler about twenty years ago I am aware that at the time she did not believe in God. However I deeply admired her for her commitment to Indigenous issues and her deep respect for Presbyterian Christian and surgeon Dr Charles Duguid, first president of the Foundation for Aboriginal Affairs (later FCAATSI) [whom Faith described as “that marvellous man from South Australia”]. I admired the friendship I observed she had with Christians Jean Horner (FCAATSI Treasurer) and Jack Horner (FCAATSI General Secretary, Executive Member and Private Secretary to Faith Bandler as General Secretary). (Faith Bandler, Turning the Tide p143, p144)
- Eddie Mabo withdrew from Christianity around his late teens and returned in his later years. (Professsor Noel Loos Modern History Stage 6 Draft Writing Brief Comment:Mr Alex Mills. Recognition of Indigenous Rights Part C page 8)
- Because The Reformation has been excluded from the K-10 syllabus one assumes that numerous teachers will not expect that they need to mention religion in teaching History.
- One concern I have concerning the Reformation is that those who prepared the K-10 Syllabus did not write letters of apology to Emeritus Professor Bruce Mansfield and Adjunct Professor John Moses who both advised that The Reformation should be included in the syllabus and give the historical reasons as to why The Reformation was excluded.
Information supporting the recoommendations
Modern Aboriginal Political Movement
The investigation statement from the syllabus (p41) on which the recommendations are based:
* the development of the modern Aboriginal political movement including the founding of the Australian Aboriginal Progressive Association, the Day of Mourning 1938 and the influence of William Cooper and Pearl Gibbs
The following information is relevant in support of Recommendation 1.
The recommendation includes “including the influence of religious motivation and action”.
Australian Aboriginal Progressive Association
The following information supports Recommendation 4.
This information also supports Recommendation 1.
Details re AAPA
[Fred Maynard] was a strong campaigner for equality and the protection of the Aboriginal family. He was thus the driving force behind the AAPA,[q.v.]. possibly the first such organisation” (Prentis p135)
This movement began to develop on the north coast of NSW and existed in Sydney from 1924 to 1927, led by Fred Maynard. At its peak, it had 500 members, but was hounded out of existence by the Protection Board [q.v.] and police.” (Prentis p29) The groups demands included that Aboriginal children should have access to public schools. (* https://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/nsw/NE00032 4/8/16)
The AAPA was established in 1925. It was
based on the Garvey movements in the United States. As a non-Aboriginal person McKenzie Hatton was not eligible for membership of the group, but she became heavily involved in a campaign of letter writing to lobby politicians for better legal and social conditions for Aborigines. She was fiercely committed to political protest on behalf of, and in collaboration with, the AAPA. As John Maynard has shown, her sympathy was to grow into a very strong support that put her at odds with her church and the missionary organisations with which she had worked.
In her work with Aboriginal girls and for Aboriginal human rights, she showed a leadership beyond that suggested by the evangelical tradition she came from.
See biographical details:
Maynard, John, Light in the Darkness: Elizabeth McKenzie Hatton', in Cole, Anna; Haskins, Victoria and Paisley, Fiona (eds), Uncommon Ground: White Women in Aboriginal History, Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, 2005.Details
Maynard, Charles Fredrick: See Australian Dictionary of Biography
John Maynard, For Liberty and Freedom: Fred Maynard and the Aboriginal Australian Progressive Association, Canberra: Australian Studies Press, 2007
Malcom Prentis (2008) A Concise Companion to Aboriginal History Rosenberg Publishing PO Box 6125 Dural Delivery Centre 2158.
Maud Oldrey. Missionary. Aboriginal Rights. Public School Attendance. Vocal Woman by herself & with others
The “Maud Oldrey” Recommendation (5) is linked to the AAPA. Oldrey and other missionaries were advocating for Aboriginal children to be able to attend Public Schools in 1904. The AAPA were advocating for this twenty years later.
Details about Maud Oldrey and other missionaries was sent to some BOSTES nominated representatives. Dated 17 June 17 2016.
Convent sisters at Yass took in [an] Aboriginal child[ren] rejected by the Public School eg. Pearl Gibbs.
Maynard was confident in his advocacy as he had been brought up by a Presbyterian or Methodist minister. During his residence with the minister he read widely and became well educated which assisted him becoming confident in his advocacy.
Students are to investigate
the development of the modern Aboriginal political movement. Whilst I understand that the deputation of missionaries to the Minister for Public Instruction to seek permission for Aboriginal children to attend Public Schools did not include Aboriginal people in the deputation, the attitude of the Minister suggests that he may not have been prepared to see the deputation if Aborigines were included. Further research may also show that Aboriginal people supported the missionaries’ deputation action. The Aboriginal movement in the Taree/ Kempsey area may have been at the stage of “development” where they needed the missionaries to act on their behalf.
There are many non Aboriginal parents in 2016 who do not feel confident to be able to put the case to a Minister for Education on an issue and would welcome someone else do it for them.
Day of Mourning
Information to support Recommendation 6
The following information was contained in a document sent to BOSTES in November 2015 for use in preparing the draft syllabus. A similar document was sent to the nominated representatives on the BOSTES Board in April 2016.
One Blood by the Rev Dr John Harris has detailed information on the Day of Mourning. There is no indication that anyone responsible for preparing the draft syllabus has read One Blood. (Roy William’s book Post God Australia was recommended to the curriculum writers in November 2016 by me with encouragement from educators. In its pages a commendation of One Blood could be found.)
William Cooper, was the last of his family to be converted to Christianity under the ministry of missionary Daniel Matthews (who had the courage to rescue girls from white workers camps). It is understood that he suggested the idea of the Day of Mourning which was supported by William Ferguson, an Aboriginal Presbyterian elder from Dubbo who had founded the Aborigines Progressive Association in 1937 and was a driving force in the Association. Ferguson linked up with Pearl Gibbs and Jack Patten. Patten’s early education was at a Cumeroogunga School linked to missionary Daniel Matthews through Patten’s [probable] teacher Thomas James, a Christian. (One Blood p624) Jack Patten was co-organiser of the Day of Mourning.
Ferguson’s long term commitment to the “Aboriginal political movement” an co-organiser suggests that he should be included with Cooper and Gibbs in those whom “students” should “investigate”. “All of his twelve children had been educated at Dubbo High School and all had successfully settled into the white community. [Details follow.] (Custodians of the soil. John Ramsland (2001) in association with Greater Taree City Council. BOSTES should give reasons based on historical reasons if he isn’t included in those to “investigate”.
Many of those who attended the Day of Mourning were Christians including Pastor Bert Marr of Taree, Frank Roberts of Tuncuster, Margaret Tucker, Doug Nichols, Tom Foster from La Perouse(One Blood pp629-30)
John Patten, was co-organiser. No Christian commitment was indicated. Patten’s briefer, though significant role in the “Aboriginal political movement, raises the question as to whether he should be named in the syllabus.
From the Australian Dictionary of Biography article by Jack Horner, Ferguson's biographer.
Ferguson, with two Aboriginal leaders, William Cooper and John Patten, organized a 'Day of Mourning' conference for Aboriginals, on Australia Day, 1938. That year Patten and Ferguson wrote the pamphlet, Aborigines Claim Citizen Rights!, and petitioned the prime minister Joseph Lyons, for a national Aboriginal policy…
…Ferguson habitually checked his facts with reserve residents before attacking official policies on land, housing and control, and he inspired young Aborigines to take up politics. The A.P.A. resolutions, mostly Ferguson's work, were ahead of their time. He stood tall, with a calm and reliable manner, and his strong Presbyterian faith supported his pride in Aboriginal people.
Some accomplishments of Cooper and Ferguson
Cooper and Ferguson had, in fact, gained a great deal, but both of them died disillusioned, thinking they had finally failed. As a direct result of their unrelenting pressure on State and federal governments, there had been several enquiries and conferences. The authorities did not reveal their weakening to the Aborigines, but a number of changes were quickly made which, although undramatic, were a step in the right direction.(One Blood p631)
In February 2011 a busload of teenagers and adults who followed the route of the Freedom Riders visited Taree. I prepared a document for them which I have appended. It contains additional information concerning the Day of Mourning and other issues concerning the influence of religion on the “modern Aboriginal political movement”
Information to support Recommendation 7
Charles Perkins received significant support from various Christians and Christian organisations. To give a balanced account of his biography this should be specifically mentioned in the syllabus. So many textbook and other sources ignore this. That support is listed here:
- An Anglican priest, Father Smith, arranged for his attendance at an Anglican College in Adelaide. (My submission 2015 pxiv)
- Married Eileen (Christian background). She gave him lifelong support.
- Rev Ted Noffs. They met in 1961. “Became most important man in Charles’ life". (pxiv)
Helped with personal matters including accommodation, nephew’s scholarship.
Arranged public speaking engagements: Wesley mission(1000 people attended)
- Sydney Aboriginal Association, 1963, set up by Rev Ted Noffs. Charles was made a vice president which enabled him to develop organisational skills.
- Freedom Ride: Rev Ted Noffs assisted with organisation.
- Some church families provided accommodation for students, use of halls.
- Australian Council of Churches sent a telegram hoping that student action “…would stimulate imaginative Government and community action…”.(Curthoy pp188-9)
The Draft Syllabus states:
the contribution of Charles Perkins in raising awareness of discrimination towards Aboriginal peoples and achieving advances for Aboriginal peoples
“Selectivity, emphasis and omission“ are significant in preparing biography as stated in the following portion of the syllabus:
Content Focus 3: "The Construction of Modern Histories" (Draft Syllabus p35)
Students investigate ... biography
the role of selectivity, emphasis and omission in the construction of historical accounts
To give a balanced account of the
biography of Charles Perkins the support of some Christians should be acknowledged because this was significant in giving the opportunity to help students understand some background to
people who changed Australia such as Charles Perkins.
Some details about Charles including Christian support
An Anglican priest in Alice Springs arranged for Charles to study in an Adelaide Anglican College.
He also attended a “Technical School in Adelaide.” (Curthoys 19). He worked as a fitter and turner. “He became captain of the Croatia [soccer] team. Young Labor MP Don Dunstan persuaded him to attend a public meeting about Aboriginal rights where he “spoke for the first time somewhat awkwardly” Jarratt (p157). He then played soccer for several English teams in 1957-59, and then became a noted public speaker for Aboriginal rights in Adelaide being elected vice- president of the FCAA [Federal Council for the Advancement of Aborigines] in 1961. (Ann Curthoys Freedom Ride p19)
“… he met and married Eileen, Australian born of German descent, and the two set off to start a new life in Sydney.” (Jarratt p 157) Eileen had a Christian background.
He played soccer for the Pan Hellenic team. He aspired to be “the first Aborigine to complete a university degree. Why? So that he could become an informed and respected spokesman for his people.” (Jarratt p158)
So this was the Charlie Perkins that [Rev]Ted Noffs, [a Methodist minister], met in 1961….He and Ted got on like a house on fire. Perkins recalled in 1996: ‘As soon as I met Ted I knew he was fair dinkum. It was everything he said, the vibes, the compassion…the man was not a bullshit artist, and he became the most important man in my life. I’ve never trusted another white man like I trusted Ted.’”(Jarrett 158)
Ann Curthoys introduces the Rev Ted Noffs in this way: Charles “met a range of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal activists, and in particular struck up a friendship with Methodist minister [Rev] Ted Noffs. Noff’s first posting in 1951 had been as a Methodist pastor at the Far West mission at Wilcannia, where he had become close friends with many Aboriginal people, observed the dire conditions under which they lived, and developed respect for their spiritual beliefs.” Whilst studying for a “Master’s degree in Theology in the late 1950s he had been influenced by racial politics there [USA]. On his return to Australia, he became associate minister of the Central Methodist Mission (CMM) in Sydney and used its welfare agencies to assist the growing urban Aboriginal population in inner Sydney. (Curthoys p 19)
“…Ted helped Charlie and Eileen find clean and comfortable accommodation, so that Perkins could begin his studies. First he had to complete his Leaving Certificate…” (Jarratt 158)
“The National Union of Australian University Students was…starting to achieve its aims of assisting Aboriginal students to attend university. In 1963, scholarships were awarded to students of Aboriginal descent, at the University of Sydney (going to Charles Perkins and Gary Williams)” and Queensland (Margaret Valadian and Betty Anderson)…” (Curthoys p18)
Gary had attended an “Aboriginal school” on the reserve” [at Nambucca Heads], then a convent school, from which he won a bursary to attend Woodlawn College in Lismore. After he completed the Leaving Certificate in 1962, he was welcomed at …St John’s College…” (Curthoys p 19) University of Sydney. Gary was to join the Freedom Ride for a time in his home territory.
Gary’s education had been supported by the Roman Catholic Church.
“While Perkins studies anthropology, political science and sociology at Sydney University, Ted lined up speaking engagement for him all over Sydney, hoping to engender interest in the pitiful situation of the urban Aborigines…. Ted made him guest speaker at the Central Methodist Mission’s Pleasant Sunday Afternoon at the Lyceum Theatre. Shaking like a leaf Perkins addressed more than 1000 people and his remarks received major coverage in the media.” (Jarratt p159)
“Perkins suddenly realised that he had the power to make a real difference in Aboriginal Affairs, and Ted realised in Charlie he had a figurehead who could help him unite the urban Aborigines.”(Jarrett 159) The Lyceum Theatre speech “was so successful that Noffs realised a new Aboriginal leader was emerging.” (Curthoys p23)
“In 1963, … Ted prevailed upon Sydney’s Labor Lord Mayor, Harry Jensen, to chair a public meeting with a view to setting up an Aboriginal association which could speak for all Sydney’s Aborigines. Jensen readily agreed…”
Jensen could see “Ted’s personal commitment was obvious.”
“Not only was he helping Charles Perkins in his studies, but Perkins’ young nephew, Neville, had come down from Alice Springs and the Noffs family taken him into their Ashfield home, where he became another member of the family…until Ted secured for him a scholarship to Newington College as a boarder.” (Jarratt p 160)
At the Lord Mayor’s meeting…there was fierce debate…”and some groups left. “The new organisation formed was called the Aboriginal Affairs Association. Harry Jensen was its first president, Ted Noffs its chair and Charles Perkins and Ken Brindle [an Aborigine who Ted had been supporting with legal battles] its vice-chairmen.”
The Association contributed to making equality attainable. According to Jarrett “no one did more in Sydney than the unlikely duo of a middle-aged white Methodist minister and a young black student activist.” (p161)
Jarrett’s chapter “Charlie and Ted” opened with a letter from Charles to Mr and Mrs Noffs. I see it as providing an excellent summary as to why a specific acknowledgement of the contribution of some people of Christian motivation should be recognised in the syllabus.
Dear Mr and Mrs Noffs,
…It seems the Perkins tribe has had (and still has) wonderful people for friends in the Noffs family. You have not only helped me to achieve the little I have in my life, but have now helped Neville in the same manner. We come from a poor family that had nothing to begin with and you gave us the hand of friendship when we needed it most… Your family has proved what Christianity really means, and how it should be expressed in this world…
( Charles Perkins, private letter, 1970)
In describing the short farewell ceremony before the Freedom Ride bus left the University of Sydney in February 1965 Ann Curthoys quotes Freedom Rider Beth Hansen the
send off, with Ted Noff’s blessings...Noffs on the step of the bus. This included a prayer. Ann added.
Yet it is worth noting that, while the students appreciated this blessing and support, probably less than half were Christians; the rest were a mix of atheists, agnostics and Jews. (Curthoys p36)
Some Freedom Riders “contribution in raising awareness…and achieving advances…”
The Freedom Riders, this great mix of young people were able to work together to make an impact on the thinking of Australians. They helped Charlie become a household name & give him the opportunity of making a significant difference long after the Freedom Ride. (Curthoys p290)
Jim Spigelman was…”especially significant…” his organising role” was very “important”.
At Sydney Boys’ High School Jim had been disturbed by the lack of support for the Asian Colombo Plan students in contrast to that of an American exchange student, and had complained to the headmaster (
that’s because of my Jewish background more than anything else… I’m sure it came from my Jewish background that racism had a very high salience).” (Curthoys 39) Beth Hansen, a member of the Humanist Society… was … very important. (Curthoys p31) Brian Aarons, from a Communist background, was an early member of student committees, maintained his interest in Aboriginal issues and worked for Federal government authorities on Aboriginal issues for many years. (Curthoys pp507-8)
At the 30th anniversary reunion of the Freedom Ride Charles Perkins remarked how impressive it was that young people of so many different world views could come together to work for Aboriginal advancement.
Churches and Freedom Ride
Some churches gave accommodation and use of halls for the students on their journey.. Towards the end of the tour the Australian Council of Churches sent a positive telegram to the students. (Curthoys p188-9) Some church people for over 150 years have helped in supporting Aboriginal people to shape history. These people understood that they were following the teaching of Jesus Christ. The institutional church, has been hampered by being an institution and subject to non-Christian influences, including those who wish to protect their vested interest. At the same time they have been forward in their thinking, by providing funds, for example, the Australian Council of Churches and other organisations or groups within their particular church.
Recommendation 8 suggests that Faith's ability to work with others should be added to the students' investigation.
In my brief consideration of Faith Bandler I wish to draw attention to my introductory comment 7. I emphasised her ability to respect people with different world views and her ability to work with and encourage people to achieve common aims.
From a conversation with Faith Bandler about twenty years ago I am aware that at the time she did not believe in God. However I deeply admired her for her commitment to Indigenous issues and her deep respect for Presbyterian Christian and surgeon Dr Charles Duguid, first president of the Foundation for Aboriginal Affairs (later FCAATSI) [whom Faith described as “that marvellous man from South Australia”] Duguid also established the Ernabella Presbyterian mission.
I admired the friendship I observed she had with Anglican Christians Jean Horner (FCAATSI Treasurer) and Jack Horner (FCAATSI General Secretary, Executive Member and Private Secretary to Faith Bandler as General Secretary). (Faith Bandler, Turning the Tide p143, p144)
Curriculum writers and teachers need to inform students that Faith Bandler’s motivations and role included the support of member of FCAATSI. Note also that Faith Bandler was supported by her husband.
Recommendation 9 suggests that the students’ investigation direction also includes the support given by historians, non Christians and Christians in his campaigning.
14a) Edward Koiki Mabo, in his struggle for land rights, was supported by a Christian wife and friends, as well as by non Christians. (See Edward Koiki Mabo: his life and struggle for land rights by Noel Loos and E.K. Mabo) My submission Nov. 2015 page xv
[Note also: Noel Loos White Christ Black Cross: The emergence of a Black Church provides a case study of mission initiative and Aboriginal response. My submission Nov. 2915 p xv]]
See a quotation from Acting on Conscience Frank Brennan SJ St Lucia UQP 2007 p168:
Father Frank Brennan SJ “has been for a decade, one of the most active and influencial advocates for the revolutionary policies which were embodied in the Mabo judgement.”
Quoted from Evans, Ray. Gnosticism and the high court. Quadrant, Vol. 43, No. 6, June 1999: 20-26. Availability: ISSN: 0033-5002. p24
Co-operation between Indigenous and Non Indigenous
The following investigation be placed under an appropriate heading, incorporated in another investigation for students, or use the “relevant historical problem or issue” heading. Recommendation 10:
Examples of how non Aboriginal people co-operated with Aboriginal people who may have received help and guidance.
In Taree NSW, church people, church associated people and non church people joined together to form an Aboriginal gift shop. This was hosted by Ella Simon, a Christian Aboriginal person. Funds raised were used to help buy books and other needs for Aboriginal students attending Taree Primary and High Schools. One member of the support group told me that recently one of the students told him “how much he valued the help that he had received” from the group.
The Draft Syllabus includes nationally significant people. There needs to be a place where students become aware of town activities that were supportive of Aboriginal people. These activities provide useful ideas as to how students can put into practice concepts studied in Civics and Citizenship education.
Interestingly an extract from Ella Simon’s book Through My Eyes was included in a Discovering Democracy booklet on a page next to an article on the Rev Dr Martin Luther King.
Content Focus 3. Constructions of Modern Histories
Students who are advised to consider the suggestions made in Recommendation 7 if they choose to do “a study of an historical individual such as Charles Perkins…” as set out in the Draft Syllabus (page 35) “Investigating Modern History” (page 31) Recommendation 11
The Draft Syllabus includes:
Students investigate ... biography...
the role of selectivity, emphasis and omission in the construction of historical accounts”
To give a balanced account of the “biography” of Charles Perkins the support of some Christians should be acknowledged because this was significant in giving the opportunity to help students understand some background to
people who changed Australia such as Charles Perkins.