This is a tremendously interesting article but I have a …

Comment on Kids from The Alice: When Malcolm met Menzies by Alex Nelson.

This is a tremendously interesting article but I have a couple of quibbles.
First, W C (Bill) Wentworth is regarded as the first Commonwealth minister for Aboriginal (or Indigenous) Affairs, appointed by PM John Gorton in early 1968.
The official title was “Minister for Aboriginal Affairs under the Prime Minister” whereas Gordon Bryant was appointed as “Minister for Aboriginal Affairs” in 1972, so maybe that’s just hair-splitting on my part.
The second point relates to the meeting with PM Bob Menzies in 1963 where Malcolm Cooper “was enjoying a glass of whisky with the Prime Minister yet he wasn’t recognised as a citizen in his own land. Neither could he express his personal view, to either vote for the Menzies Government or against it.”
I don’t know about the situation in South Australia at the time but certainly it was the case that all “full-blood” Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory had the non-compulsory right to vote from 1962 onwards.
The first election in which they could vote was for the NT Legislative Council in December 1962 (people of mixed race descent could vote in the NT from 1953 onwards).
Ironically, there was no vote in the NT for the 1963 Federal election campaign as Labor member Jock Nelson was re-elected unopposed – the last occasion this occurred in a national election campaign.
In 1966 Aboriginal people in the NT got to vote in a Federal election for the first time and were the cause of a major political upset, as they were crucial for the election of Country Party candidate Sam Calder against the Labor favourite, Dick Ward.
While it was the case that Aboriginal people weren’t included in the national census, it needs to be kept in mind that people of mixed race descent were counted in the official figures – it was “full-blood” Aboriginal people who were excluded.
Notwithstanding that, bureaucracy can’t help itself – even “full-blood” Aboriginal people were recorded in statistics.
For example, in December 1962 there were 18,270 “full-blood” Aboriginal people recorded in the NT, and this figure was broken down into the following: 5,219 on government settlements; 5,956 on church mission stations; 6,139 on pastoral properties; 656 in towns and institutions; 300 are nomadic (The Inlander, No. 21, September 1963).
Smaller numbers were recorded for the other states.
Very much looking forward to more articles in this series.

Recent Comments by Alex Nelson

Wards for Alice council, including one for town camps?
Wards for the Alice Springs Town Council are not a new idea but have never been supported by the NT Government.
There was discussion about wards in the mid-1990s, which was firmly rejected by the government.
It was also raised by candidate Steve Strike during the town council election campaign in May 1988. Like Eli Melky’s current proposal, Strike also suggested five wards, each with two aldermen; however, he didn’t overlook the rural area on that occasion over 30 years ago (the other wards suggested were for Eastside, Gillen, Braitling and the Gap Area).
The town’s municipal boundaries were expanded significantly in early 1988, incorporating the whole rural area for the first time despite widespread opposition from affected residents. The idea of a ward system was the final suggestion to differentiate the rural area from the town, after calls for a separate community government and a shire were rejected by the NT Government.
It’s interesting to note that during the operation of the original Alice Springs Progress Association from 1947 to 1960, the town was divided into wards a couple of times for choosing delegates onto the association. The wards were the (now old) Eastside, town centre (now the CBD), the south side of the town, and the Farm Area along what is now Ragonesi Road. The town’s population grew from about 2000 to over 3000 residents during this period, which was long before there was a town council.
One person who represented the south ward from 1958 onwards was Bernie Kilgariff, kickstarting what was to become an illustrious career in NT politics.
Personally I support the concept of wards; for one thing, it would substantially reduce the cost and inconvenience of town council by-elections.
With regard to increasing the number of councillors from eight to 10; well, it’s just over a decade ago the reverse occurred.
Moreover, the ASTC first started off with eight aldermen (plus the mayor) in 1971 until 1977, when the number was increased to 10.
Here we go again?


Move School of the Air to Anzac High building
@ Watch’n (Posted April 15, 2019 at 4:48 am): Remember when the Drive-in was de-listed? To make way for real estate? Wasn’t that a great development.


Gallery fiasco: school heritage process ‘massively flawed’
It’s obvious the majority of voters in Araluen got it right in the last Territory election campaign.


Killerbots, guided by Pine Gap, same as any other weapon?
Humanity is becoming too clever for its own good.


Save Anzac Hill High School: National Trust
@ James T Smerk (Posted March 28, 2019 at 11:48 am): I’ve said it before a number of times, I’ll say it again: The old high school complex on the Anzac Reserve has the richest heritage value of any education campus in the Northern Territory.
Its historical value is very high, and exceeded in Central Australia only by the Alice Springs Telegraph Station, the Hermannsburg Historic Precinct, and Arltunga (which last is actually NOT heritage listed).


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