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Black and white portrait of a man. - click to view larger image
Bob Maza

1939 to 2000

Bob Maza was born on Palm Island of a Murray Island father and a Yidinjdji mother and was brought up to respect both Aboriginal and Islander cultures.

In the late 1960s he went to Melbourne. He read Malcolm X Speaks and was impressed by the Black Power arguments which it developed.

He was politically active in the Victorian Aborigines Advancement League, becoming the first Indigenous president of the League when it moved to Aboriginal autonomy.

In 1970 he was a delegate to the United Nations Assembly, highlighting the third-world status of Indigenous Australians. In 1972 he was an active member of the Aboriginal Embassy protest in Canberra.

Bob Maza was instrumental in the formation of Indigenous performing companies such as Nindethana and National Black Theatre. He made a rich contribution to the Australian film industry and, in 1993, in recognition of his work for his people and in the arts, he was awarded an Order of Australia.

Explore more on Collaborating for Indigenous Rights 1957–1973

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