Death Scene Protester: An Aboriginal Rights Activist in 1920s London

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Paisley, Fiona
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David A. Ellison and Katrine Schlunke
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2011
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This essay concerns the protest of an Australian Aboriginal man outside Australia House in central London. In the 1920s Anthony Martin Fernando made regular appearances outside Australia House on the Strand. Dressed in a black cloth on which he had sewn tiny skeletons, he expressed his condemnation of recent massacres of Aboriginal people in outback Australia. His activities still contradict assumptions that Aboriginal rights history mostly operated within Australia until the second half of the twentieth century, while for those he met in interwar London, Fernando confronted commonly held notions of Aboriginal demise on a distant frontier. But if the Australia House protests remain impressive for their ingenuity and haunting symbolism, newspaper reports of his testimony in court in 1929 finally provided the publicity he sought for the Aboriginal cause.

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South Atlantic Quarterly
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110
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4
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© 2011 Duke University Press. The attached file is reproduced here in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.
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Cultural studies
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