Policies of assimilation and integration. The Welfare Board moves Aboriginal people to Aboriginal Stations where they are to be prepared for absorption into the general community. This means individual families are persuaded to share town life with whites. Earlier policies had relocated Aboriginal people from their homelands to reserves, known as stations or missions. The assimilation policy aims to break up these reserves and “encourage” people to replace seasonal and casual work with regular wage labour (yet wages remain unequal). The stations are seen as “stepping-stones to civilisation”. The assimilation policy denies Aboriginal people their basic rights. It stops them from raising their own children, freedom of movement, access to education, award wages, marrying without permission, eating in restaurants, entering a pub, swimming in a public pool or the right to vote.

1950s-60s The Perry family including Laurie Perry visit Old Polly at his tin humpy at Reddonbury Reserve. James Miller is also a child who visits. Ernie and Les Miller are sent as boys to the Kinchela Boys Home where they suffer intolerably. The residents of Reddonbury collect water from the small river nearby but must boil it to drink.


Death of Alec Russell of Karuah, the earliest AIM Native Missionary. Alec Russell converted to Christianity at age 15 in 1905 and was one of the three first Native Workers of the AIM to “go forth on the Missionary journey”. He was the first Native Missionary to take up sustained work, engaging in itinerary missionary work, helping to build the St Clair and Moonan Cullah Mission houses and the Karuah Mission church. Russell was Missionary in charge at Cummeragunja until his marriage, after which he settled on the Karuah River at Soldier’s Point.


Death of Dave Sands near Dungog. On the morning of 12 August, a disbelieving Australia hears that Dave Sands, national and Empire middleweight boxing champion and contender for the world title has died at the age of 26 as a result of a driving accident. Dave is perhaps the best known of the famous Ritchie family. The six brothers fought under the name of Sands. While born of the Dunghutti people and brought up near Kempsey they regularly attend the Newcastle Stadium. Together they forged a unique record in world boxing: between them 607 fights, 249 knockout wins, one Empire (Commonwealth) title, one Australasian, four Australian, and three state titles. The Ritchie family maintain a close association with the Newcastle area with Clem, the eldest brother, and their sister Lillian, being actively involved with setting up and ongoing activities of the Awabakal Co-op. (Tatz, 1995: 132; Arwarbukarl Cultural Resource Association, ACRA)

January 2. Aileen Muriel Willis (from Cherbourg) and Don Brady (from Palm Island) marry at the Aborigines Inland Mission (AIM) church in Cherbourg . Both bride and bridegroom are native missionaries educated in Native Workers Training Colleges in the Hunter Valley. They most likely meet at local AIM training or social activities. Don graduates from the Mens College at Karuah in 1949 and Aileen at Singleton sometime later. After graduating, Don serves as native missionary at Brewarrina, Walcha and Moree. Director of AIM, Mrs Retta Long travels from Sydney to be present at the wedding and speaks of her associations with the bride and bridegroom with great affection. (Our AIM, 16 Feb 1952, p10)

At the AIM’s Native Workers Training College in Singleton, young Aboriginal women attend sewing class, milk cows and perform domestic duties as well as undertake bible training.

A stone obelisk monument to the “Lost Tribes of the Hawkesbury” is raised at the site of the old Sackville Reserve in the Public Recreation Reserve off Holes Drive, Sackville. The unveiling ceremony is organised by the Historical Society of NSW. A large crowd is in attendance. This includes Mr Sid W Ridgeway (son of the late King of Karua, Port Stephens) and his wife Corra. The monument is soon forgotten after blackberries surround it.(Nichols p6)

Bill Onus sets up Aboriginal Enterprises and opens a boomerang factory and shop in Belgrave on the edge of Melbourne.


Merline Ayerst is born at Waratah.


The state housing commission and Aboriginal housing cooperatives begin to provide houses for Aboriginal peoples in towns as part of the assimilation policy. Authorities seek to close down unsightly fringe camps. An inspection of the “humpie” or shanty town on Platt’s Estate in Waratah (Newcastle) by health and lands officials in 1954 is most probably driven by a desire to close such “black camps” on the periphery of expanding modern industrial city. (Lucas 20; Newcastle Morning Herald p.2)


Patrica Nugent is born in Sydney.


August 2. Both former Sackville Reach Aborigines Reserves Nos 23598 and 28546 (revoked 1946) are set aside for public recreation. (Brook, 1st edit, p43).


The Federal Council for Aboriginal Advancement is established at a conference in Adelaide. Of the 25 people attending, only three are Aboriginal: Bert Groves from NSW, Doug Nicholls from Victoria and Jeff Barnes from SA. Founding member of FCAA, Bert Groves, opposes the policy of assimilation, which he likens to extermination. He argues assimilation implies the disappearance of Aboriginal people as a separate cultural group and their physical absorption into European Australia. Groves tells the conference that the word “integration” better defines the aims of FCAA. (Koori History)