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Alick Jackomos recalls petition-gathering for the referendum with Doug Nicholls

We were given petitions and it was our job to get names on 'em. And Doug [Nicholls] and I — I was employed by the Advancement League then as a field officer. And we used to go up to Smith Street, Collingwood with a little card table outside of old Foy and Gibson's. It's not there any more. And Doug'd be yelling out 'give Aboriginals citizenship rights!' And he'd be dragging people. And Doug was like chewing gum to anyone because if he put his hand on them they'd come right to the table, you know? He could mesmerise them, Doug and get them there. And it was Doug's job to lead 'em to the table, and there's me sitting at the table getting people to sign. But we signed those petitions there but we also had a good spot outside the Collingwood football ground on home matches — outside the Collingwood members' stand. Now Collingwood supporters are black and white one-eyed. Normally they'd just rush into the grandstand to get their seat. But this particular day Doug Nicholls, again as they were walking in — and everybody knew Doug. I mean Doug was a household name. He was better known than Henry Bolte who was the Premier at the time. Soon as they see Doug, they couldn't resist Doug. So he leads 'em to the table and we'd get these petitions. And we got a lot of petitions signed and so did all the other workers in Victoria.

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Date published: 26 March 2020

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