An 80 Year Sit In

Equal pay, was only part of the disrespect afforded Aboriginal peoples. Under the Aboriginal Protection Act indigenous people were not allowed to live within one mile of Dunwich and North Stradbroke Island’s aboriginal families were forcibly shifted to an aboriginal settlement at Myora Springs, where they lived from 1892 until 1940. Closed in 1941, people shifted to nearby One Mile to be closer to work at the Benevolent Asylum only to have it close. A near 80 year sit in ensued and counting. In 1952, the state government unsuccessfully tried to remove indigenous people from One Mile with a proposal to provide 96 allotments at Myora. Which was never realised.

A One Mile Sovereign Resident Council formed – a group of Island indigenous residents, wanting to retain a “sovereign position” at the settlement as reported by Redland City Bulletin’s article One Mile Issue Raised in Paliament . The article goes onto quote spokesperson for the One Mile Sovereign Resident Council, Dale Ruska who said some residents wanted to “reclaim” ancestral lands to rectify housing needs and social issues at One Mile. Redland Council says the 30-hectare parcel of land is “unallocated state land” and until some state government decisions are made on its usage, Redlands cannot “rate” the land or begin the process of providing fresh water supply, or sewerage for the 150 or so residents this time reported in the Brisbane Time Article Stradbroke Islands Forgotten Mile.

One Mile Sovereign Resident Council

Equal Pay

Carers And Activists

From the conflicts of 1832 and 33, to 1869 when the Benevolent Asylum was established on the island to house the frail, elderly and infirmed people from the settler communities from of the mainland. The care for these people was by both aboriginal and non-aboriginal people. Pay for aboriginal people was however in rations. A brief introduction to the Dunwich Benevolent Asylum /​ North Stradbroke Island Historical Museum states Aboriginal workers campaigned from 1920 for equal pay and in 1926 the Australian Workers Union represented the Aboriginal Gang demanding that workers should be paid award rates – and receive the same as white workers. After almost 20 years of running strikes, petitions and industrial action and delegations to Government Ministers, in 1944 the government agreed that Aboriginal workers should receive award wages. It was more than 40 years before the same occurred elsewhere in Queensland.

The abrupt move of the Asylum to Eventide in Sandgate in 1946, left island people out of work. But continuous occupation of their land was made possible however by the arrival of mining. This is ironic given that Native Title is cnditional on continuous occupancy of country and that Native Title granted in the Quandamooka 2011 actually served to end mining


Resistance in the 1800s, Minjerribah

Direct Action of the 1800s

August 2018, Dr Ray Hovekirk presented his research into the Frontier Wars at the North Stradbroke Island on Minjerribah recounting conflict between soldiers and Aboriginal groups, roughly between 1832 and 1833.

A conflict seems to have erupted over killings and counter-killings involving the European staff of the Amity Point pilot station and a local headman, who was killed in a fishing trip. According to one account (of Thomas Welsby) the result was a day-long pitched battle against a group of soldiers at the flats of Cooroon Cooroonpah Creek (north of Myora)”.

Retrieved from  August 29, 2018.

Research, presented to the Australian Historical Association’s Conflict in History conference July 2015 at the University of Queensland, estimated that there were “66,680 Queensland deaths between 1788 and 1930. Of those deaths, 65,180 were indigenous…”

Retrieved from  August 29, 2018.

These direct actions of resistance set the stage for ensuing community actions seeking change be that sovereign recognition, environmental, social, economic or cultural on Minjerribah to the present day.