Several Awabakal men live around Swansea, they are Wool, Mailey and Gubell. They are friends with local non Aboriginal families. (Newcastle Morning Herald, 20 May 1961, Newcastle Library)

1920 - 1921

The average number of boys at the Singleton Childrens Home is 30, its full capacity. There is an average attendance of 22 at the school associated with the Home.


An Aboriginal woman from Trangie requires a PASS to go to Sydney to look for her sick husband. Sometimes the APB does not grant such requests for travel.


APB removes Aborigines from the Namoi Aboriginal camp to the Barwon Reserve. The AIM helps them to build new homes and establish a centre for AIM. That same year, AIM purchases a motor bike to visit more Aboriginal camps in north-west NSW. (Retta Long. In the Way Of His Steps, 1936).

At a time when few white people question the “doomed race” hypothesis, the editor of Newcastle newspaper, Voice of the North, J J Maloney pens editorials to mobilise authorities to save Aboriginal people. (Maynard, Maynard and the AAPA).


The local committee of the APB recommends that the Gooris’ land at St Clair be revoked and their bullocks be sold. It further suggests that the Gooris be induced to work the local farms rather than the farms on the mission. They look at Gooris as a cheap form of labour. (Heath, 1997: 61 )

Closure of St Clair Mission. St Clair Mission is closed off to Aboriginal people completely. During its management of the mission, the APB places 170 girls in work situations and holds 2,775 pounds in trust from their wages. (Pathways across the Hunter, 20)

After the mission is closed, some families travel elsewhere while others remain nearby. Many move from St Clair Mission to Walhollow Station-Caroona Mission. Others establish a tin shanty town on the Singleton Common (the Redbourneberry Hill camp) until Housing Commission Houses are built many years later. One family moves to the other side of the creek near St Clair. They select a piece of land and establish their own vegetable garden on the creek flat until it is sold off. The loss of St Clair and its impact on peoples’ lives becomes one catalyst that helps trigger Aboriginal political mobilisation and revolt during the 1920's. Tom Phillips makes his anger known in the Singleton Argus. (James Miller, Koori Will to Win; Rosa Nolan, "‘We Want to Do What They Did’”; AIATSIS; Australian Museum)

The Board decides to dispose of the Singleton Home on the ground that the premises are unsuitable. The school on the grounds is officially closed in 1924 and the boys are transferred to Kinchela Aboriginal Boys Training Home. 10 go with the Manager to Brungle. (Pathways across the Hunter, 20)

Kinchela Boys Home and Cootamundra Girls Home are established by an amendment to the Aborigines Protection Act (1911) to take Aboriginal children removed from their families. Here Aboriginal children are taught farm labour and domestic work. Many end up as servants in the houses of wealthy city residents. Kinchela Boys Training Home has the same function as the Singleton Home: boys between the ages of 5 and 15 are sent directly to Kinchela or if they have been taken at a younger age they are sent to Bomaderry Children’s Home until they are old enough to be transferred to Kinchela. (Kinchela Boys Home Aboriginal Corporation).

Aboriginal people of the Lower Hunter Valley and Lake Macquarie region seem to “disappear overnight”. They are forced to relocate due to commercial interests in their land, especially the timber industry. (Maynard, Awabakal Voices, p81).

Bruce Punto is born in Wickham.

Edward (Eddy) Sales is born to mother Edna Newman.

Mount Olive Reserve is closed.

Tom Dillon dies from burns at Newcastle while residing at Karuah. He is reported to be the “last full blood Aborigine of the Hawkesbury tribe”. (Port Stephens).

Mount Olive Reserve was closed to Aboriginal people.


The remnants of traditional people from the Lake Macquarie/ Newcastle region adopt John Frasers invented terms of “Awabakal” and “the people of Awaba” to begin to refer to themselves as “the Awabakal”. (Fraser, An Australian language as spoken by the Awabakal; Maynard, Awabakal Voices, p79)

AIM establishes a Native Ministry. It recruits 12 men and women, old and young, who show aptness for spiritual leadership among their people. They also appoint 30 native Sunday School Teachers who begin their Christian service. In 1936, Retta Long (Dixon) identifies some of AIM’s “choicest native workers” at this time: Harry Ashmore, Fred Barber, Eddie Atkinson, Lily Kina, Mary Duncan, Tottie Lacey and Charlie Simeon. AIM classes these “native workers” into four offices: pastors, missionaries, local assistants and deacons and deaconesses. At this time, there are 36 native workers more widely. (Retta Long. In the Way Of His Steps, 1936; Cathleen Inkpin. "Making Their Gospel Known, 14).

Aboriginal activism. Some AIM recruits use ministry training and church networks to link with others and mobilise to protest social issues. Eddie Atkinson and his wife Ellen support protests of Jack Patten, William Ferguson, William Cooper and other leaders. (Retta Long. In the Way Of His Steps, 1936; (Cathleen Inkpin. "Making Their Gospel Known, 75-76).

The AAustralian Aborigines Progressive Association (AAPA) is formed. It hosts its first conference in Sydney during 1925 and attracts widespread media attention and a large crowd. President, Fred Maynard, opens the conference with the words “brothers and sisters, we have much business to transact here”. At the forefront is the need to regain control of their land. Many activists have experienced the loss of land through the revocation of Aboriginal reserves under the Aborigines Protection Act. They also campaign against the practice of the removal of Aboriginal children from their families. The association seeks to replace the APB with an organisation controlled by Aboriginal people. (Dubbo Koori Interagency Network)

Aboriginal activism is spearheaded by a Worimi man from Port Stephens, Charles Fredrick Maynard. He establishes the Australian Aborigines Progressive Association (AAPA), the first politically organized and united Aboriginal activist group. Through Maynard’s leadership, Aborigines voice their disapproval through street rallies, meetings and conferences, the media, letters and petitions to government and the King about injustice and inequality. Members are especially vocal about the loss of Aboriginal reserve lands and their most strident attack is directed at the APB. Significant members are: William and John Ridgeway from Tea Gardens, J Johnstone from the Wingham reserve, James Linwood from the Macleay area, Joe Anderson and his brothers from the Burragorang valley, and Jane Duren from Bateman’s Bay. A meeting held in Kempsey during 1925 attracts over 500 Gooris. Newspaperman from Newcastle, Mr J J Maloney, supports the AAPA by printing their editorials. Maynard’s capacity to inspire an audience alarms the authorities and he is denied the right to speak on Aboriginal reserves. The APB seeks to stop Aboriginal protest by silencing the AAPA. But the groundswell has begun. (Maynard, Fred Maynard and the AAPA, 1997; Broome, 1982: 166; Arwarbukarl Cultural Resource Association)


Gloria Locke (descendant of Maria Lock) is born. She marries William Reynolds in Penrith in 1953. Their child is Leanne Reynolds born 1958 and grandchild is Gina Reynolds born 1984.

Birth of Dave Sands, boxer at Burnt Ridge near Kempsey.

Martha Everingham dies at Tizzana Winery Ebenezer, she is buried at the St Thomas Church Cemetery in Sackville Reach and NOT with other Kooris in the Aboriginal burial ground behind Lilburn cottage near Sackville Reserve. She is reported to be “the last of the full-blood tribe” (BDM). 80 yrs old. W517 etc.

Tenders are invited by APB for the leasing of the Sackville reserve. It approved an application to lease four acres to Mr G Mitchell of Sackville North in 1929. (Brook, 1st edit, p43).


Aboriginal activism for equal rights. Fred Maynard, leader of the Australian Aboriginal Progressive Association writes a letter of protest to the NSW Premier seeking equal citizen, land and management of the self rights:

“I wish to make it perfectly clear on behalf of our people, that we accept no condition of inferiority as compared with European people. Two distinct civilisations are represented by the respective races…That the European people by the arts of war destroyed our more ancient civilisation is freely admitted, and that by their vices and diseases our people have been decimated is also patent. But neither of these facts are evidence of superiority. Quite the contrary is the case. Furthermore, I may refer in passing, to the fact that your present scheme of old age pensions was obtained from our more ancient code, as likewise your child endowment scheme and widows pensions. Our divorce laws may yet find a place on the Statute Book. The members of the Board [the AAPA] have also noticed the strenuous efforts of the trade union leaders to attain the conditions which existed in our country at the time of the invasion by Europeans – the men only worked when necessary, we called no man ‘master’ and we had no king. We are therefore, striving to obtain full recognition of our citizen rights on terms of absolute equality with all other people in our land. The request made by this Association for sufficient land for each eligible family is justly based. The Australian people are the original owners of this land and have a prior right over all other people in this respect. Our request to supervise our own affairs is no innovation. The Catholic people in our country possess the right to control their own schools and homes, and take pride in the fact that they possess this privilege. The Chinese, Greeks, Jews and Lutherans are similarly favoured and our people are entitled to precisely the same conditions”. (Maynard, Fred Maynard and the AAPA, 1997, p9)

Eva Milligate (Milligan) seeks a “new hut” in December. The APB was willing to accommodate her request but decided to ascertain if Eva could be assisted to transfer to Newcastle to the care of her children. (Brook, 1st edit, 43).

A writer in the Telegraph newspaper recommends that “now that the Australian Aborigines are dying out…the Australian artist, B.E. Minns be commissioned by the Federal Government to supply some artistic memorials of our passing black brothers” (Maynard, Maynard and AAPA).

The Australian Aborigines Progressive Association ceases to exist beyond 1927, but it has sown the seeds for other protest groups to follow.


In the Newcastle newspaper Voice of the North, Dorothy Maloney gives Newcastle a glowing endorsement in its stance for Aboriginal rights: “Our own city of Newcastle has set an example to the whole Commonwealth by reason of the constant agitation and maintenance during many years by a local organisation for the betterment of the conditions prevailing amongst the Aboriginal section of the community”. (Maynard, Maynard and the AAPA).

Coniston Massacre in the Northern Territory.

AIM establishes its City Mission. It seeks to keep a “watchful eye” for “fresh families drifting citywards”. (Retta Long. In the Way Of His Steps, 1936).


Compulsory voting is introduced in NSW, but Aboriginal people are still excluded under the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.

Bill Onus (Son of William Onus from Wollombi Brook and grandson of Martha Everingham from Sackville Reserve) becomes politically active while at Salt Pan Creek, an Aboriginal squatters camp south-west of Sydney containing refugee families of dispossessed clans seeking to escape the harsh policies of the APB. Salt Pan Creek becomes a focal point of Aboriginal resistance in NSW. Onus develops alliances with future activists including Jack Patten. He becomes involved in the Aborigines Progressive Association during the late 1930s.