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Black and white portrait of a woman. - click to view larger image
Jean Jimmy

Mrs Jean Jimmy made the long journey — both physically and culturally — from Mapoon to Canberra for the 1964 Federal Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders (FCAATSI) annual conference.

Her talk, about the forcible movement of her people from their homes at Mapoon so that bauxite exploration could proceed, had a profound impact on conference attendees at a time when non-Aboriginal Australians were beginning to open their minds to the idea of an Aboriginal right to land.

Mrs Jimmy told listeners of the withdrawal of services, including the Flying Doctor Service, of the burning of homes and even of the destruction of the church that older residents had helped to build decades earlier.

Although the immediate battle was lost and the people were taken to Bamaga, Mrs Jimmy would continue to fight for her people's rights to live at Mapoon until they finally returned there in 1980.

See entries for Alick Jackomos, Jack Horner and Pauline Pickford for people's memories of Jean Jimmy and the impact she made when she spoke about events at Mapoon at the Canberra FCAATSI conference.

Explore more on Collaborating for Indigenous Rights 1957–1973

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