Australian Aboriginal Activism in Interwar Britain and Europe: Anthony Martin Fernando
This article reflects on the limits of the archives in the recovery of indigenous lives. An Australian Aboriginal activist and traveller in interwar Britain and Europe, Anthony Martin Fernando was an outspoken protestor of Aboriginal conditions while in Australia but mostly from overseas. He demonstrated outside Australia House in the 1920s, planned to approach the League of Nations, and was an advocate of a form of direct international mandate over land reserved for Aboriginal occupation in Australia. Much is still unknown about his life, but new information shows that he was also, among other things, a labourer in Trieste, Vienna, and Rome, a manservant in London, a civilian internee in Austria during the First World War, an interviewee of the Swiss progressive press in the interwar years, and a speaker at Hyde Park Corner. Information about his life story has been gained through wide-ranging archival research, and, perhaps most remarkably, recent contact with two families that employed him in England. More than a life shaped by tragedy, yet it was the tragic nature of colonisation and its genocidal effects that drove his life's work.