Aboriginal Rights and Freedoms: 1970 commemoration and protest

Key inquiry question #1: 
How was the 200th anniversary of the Endeavour's landing at Kamay (Botany Bay) marked by civil rights activists in Australia?
Key inquiry question #2: 
How have relationships and understandings between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians changed since the 1970 Day of Mourning?

Content

Methods used by civil rights activists to achieve change for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and the role of ONE individual or group in the struggle (ACDSEH134) 

Students: 

  • outline common methods used by civil rights activists to achieve change for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples 
  • investigate and explain the role of ONE individual or group in the struggle for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ rights and freedoms 

 

The continuing nature of efforts to secure civil rights and freedoms in Australia and throughout the world, such as the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (ACDSEH143) 

Students: 

  • identify current struggles for civil rights and freedoms throughout the world, such as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1990) and the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007) 
  • identify different methods used globally to attain civil rights and freedoms 
  • evaluate the methods and effectiveness of ONE campaign for civil rights and freedoms in Australia or another country 

Background notes for students and teachers

Learning Intention 

Students are learning to: 

  • identify and analyse the reasons for different perspectives about the bicentenary of the Endeavour's landing at Kamay (Botany Bay)
  • select and use a range of sources to communicate about the past 

Success criteria 

Students will be successful when they can: 

  • process and synthesise information from a range of sources 
  • explain the reasons for protesting the bicentenary of the Endeavour's landing at Kamay  (Botany Bay)
  • communicate about the protests in a range of different ways 

1970 Day of Mourning

On an expedition that took them 1050 days and around the world, Lieutenant James Cook and 93 other crew and expedition members on the HM Bark Endeavour (Endeavour) were the first known Europeans to sight and chart the east coast of Australia, in 1770. They entered Kamay (Botany Bay) on 29 April 1770, forced their way onto the shore, and spent eight days collecting specimens and exploring before setting sail once more.  

1970 marked the 200th anniversary of the Endeavour’s arrival in Kamay. While celebrations and commemorations, including re-enactments, were held across the nation, for Indigenous Australians the anniversary was not cause for celebration. Instead, a ‘Day of Mourning’ was declared, and protests held. A feature of these protests was the wearing of red headbands, meant to symbolise the blood shed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on that day in 1770 and since.  

Read more about the 1970 protests here.  

These protests were held in the context of growing attention towards a range of Aboriginal rights issues and contributed to an emerging national dialogue about Australian history and the continuing legacy of colonisation.  

Student Activities

In their shoes

Students investigate the 1970 protest of 200th anniversary commemmorations of the Endeavour's landing at Kamay through the online exhibition, Eight Days in Kamayand respond imaginatively. 

Number of set tasks: 1

Making headlines

Students engage with original photographs of the 1970 protests at La Perouse and research based on the online exhibition, Eight Days in Kamay, to create a persuasive piece of writing about Aboriginal rights and freedoms.

Number of set tasks: 1

Then and now

Students look at shifts in the language used in reporting the 1970 Day of Mourning between then and now, and the interviews conducted of prominent activists involved in such agitations for Indigenous rights and freedoms.

Number of set tasks: 2

NSW Syllabus for the Australian Curriculum History K - 10

A student: 

  • HT5-3 explains and analyses the motives and actions of past individuals and groups in the historical contexts that shaped the modern world and Australia 
  • HT5-6 uses relevant evidence from sources to support historical narratives, explanations and analyses of the modern world and Australia 
  • HT5-10 selects and uses appropriate oral, written, visual and digital forms to communicate effectively about the past for different audiences 

Comprehension: chronology, terms and concepts 

  • read and understand historical texts 

Analysis and use of sources 

  • process and synthesise information from a range of sources as evidence in an historical argument (ACHHS170, ACHHS188) 

Perspectives and interpretations 

  • identify and analyse the reasons for different perspectives in a particular historical context (ACHHS172, ACHHS173, ACHHS190, ACHHS191) 

Empathetic understanding 

  • interpret history within the context of the actions, values, attitudes and motives of people in the context of the past (ACHHS172, ACHHS173, ACHHS190, ACHHS191) 

Research 

  • identify, locate, select and organise information from a variety of sources, including ICT and other methods (ACHHS168, ACHHS186) 

Explanation and communication 

  • select and use a range of communication forms, such as oral, graphic, written and digital, to communicate effectively about the past for different audiences and different purposes (ACHHS175, ACHHS193) 

Continuity and change: some aspects of a society, event or development change over time and others remain the same, eg features of life during the Industrial Revolution which changed or remained the same; features of an Asian society which changed or remained the same after contact with European powers. 

Perspectives: people from the past may have had different views and experiences, eg the landing at Gallipoli would be viewed differently by Australian and Turkish soldiers; nuclear testing in the Pacific would be viewed differently from an Australian and a French government point of view. 

Empathetic understanding: the ability to understand another’s point of view, way of life and decisions made in a different period of time or society, eg understanding the reasons why migrant groups made the decision to come to Australia and the difficulties they faced; understanding the viewpoints and actions of environmentalists in opposing developments such as the damming of Tasmania’s Gordon River. 

Significance: the importance of an event, development, group or individual and their impact on their times and/or later periods, eg the importance of the changes brought about by the Industrial Revolution; the importance of World War II on Australia’s relations with other countries. 

Learning across the curriculum

Cross-curriculum priorities 

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures 

General capabilities 

  • Ethical understanding 
  • Personal and social capability 

Important learning 

  • Civics and citizenship 
  • Difference and diversity