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Getting Equal – Australia’s First Successful Aboriginal Wages Case. Official Opening Event 6pm Frida

In 2021, the North Stradbroke Island Museum on Minjerribah will launch ‘Getting Equal’ an exhibition that shares the story of the ‘Aboriginal Gang’ of the Dunwich Benevolent Asylum and their fight for equal wages. In 1944, after a 25 year campaign, Aboriginal workers at the Asylum gained equal wages almost 20 years before anywhere else in Australia. The Asylum closed shortly after and the story of the ‘Aboriginal Gang’ will now be told, 77 years later.

The exhibition Getting equal will be the centrepiece of NSIMM’s activities in 2021 to mark the 75th anniversary of the closure of the Dunwich Benevolent Asylum. The exhibition is planned for the second half of 2021. There will be an associated series of events and workshops on Minjerribah and the mainland.


The exhibition will have a multi-media part including interviews with today’s family members of those who struggled for fairness in the 1920-1940s. It will also document the work done by Aboriginal people, how and where they and their families lived. This includes telling some of the stories from the One Mile settlement and the relations between Aboriginal people and the Asylum Superintendent who was the face of the State Government on the Island and served as the local ‘Protector of Aborigines’.


The exhibition is a fitting part of the museum’s Walking Together approach which celebrates at least 25,000 years of First Nations’ peoples through to the shared history after the brutal dispossession of the 1820 -30s.


Some of the story of the wage campaign is told in the Museum’s 2019 book ‘A Paltry Paradise: A History of the Dunwich Benevolent Asylum’, available from the museum. The stories of One Mile and the memories of the families will add to this.


For further information please contact the Museum on info@stradbrokemuseum.com.au or 07 3409 9699. This Project is being assisted by a Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF) Grant.


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