Twenty years before the Reverend Martin Luther King in the United States, William Ferguson articulated a dream of freedom for his people. Ferguson had been aware since the early 1920s of the control imposed on the Aboriginal people by the New South Wales Aborigines Protection Board, which expected Aborigines of mixed decent to "absorb" into society, and others to die out.
On 27 June 1973 Bill Ferguson launched the Aborigines' Progressive Association at Dubbo, opening branches later on reserves. In November he was a witness before the Legislative Assembly's select committee on the administration of the Aborigines Protection Board when the proceedings failed to initiate reform Ferguson, with two Aboriginal leaders, William Cooper and John Patten, organised a 'Day of Mourning' conference for Aboriginals, on Australia Day, 1928.
The Aborigines Progressive Association resolutions, mostly Ferguson's work, were ahead of the time. He stood tall, with a calm and reliable manner, and his strong Presbyterian faith supported his pride in Aboriginal people.
For more information please contact the Back O' Bourke Information and Exhibition Centre
Kidman Way, Bourke NSW 2840
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