Sir Doug Nicholls. By Paige Patterson. Introduction.
By Paige Patterson
The history of Australia’s indigenous people is a cruel and bitter one, but not one to be forgotten. Through many struggles the Indigenous people have stood resilient and fought for their rights and freedoms. Doug Nicholls is one of those Indigenous people who fought for Indigenous rights and equality.
Douglas Ralph Nicholls was an aboriginal man who in his life, took on many rolls including footballer, pastor, activist and governor. He was significant in gaining indigenous rights. Doug was born on the 9th of December 1906 at Cummeragunja Aboriginal mission, New South Wales to Herbert Nicholls and Florence, née Atkinson. He was given primary education from Thomas Shadrach James. In 1915 his older sister Hilda was ‘stolen’. When he was 14, he went to seek work under the aborigines protection act. He took a job, but dreamed of better. Like many children Doug played Australian Rules football, but he was particularity good. He signed with Northcote Victorian Football Association team. His next endeavour was boxing. In 1931 Nicholls accepted a three-year contract with Jimmy Sharman’s travelling boxing show. Doug was a better footballer than he was a boxer so in 1932 he signed with Fitzroy Football team. He played fifty-four games for Fitzroy and six seasons until a knee injury made him stop in 1937.
Douglas also became a leader to many during his lifetime. William Cooper was the founder of the Australian Aborigines’ League and he had a huge impact on Doug’s life. He encouraged him in many of his endeavours and Doug began following in Cooper’s footsteps. In February 1935 Cooper, Nicholls and other people lobbied to Thomas Paterson, the Commonwealth minister for the interior, about the need for Federal control of Aboriginal affairs. Nicholls began taking a stand for aboriginal rights. Other things he participated in included the Day of Mourning protest for Aborigines taking place in Sydney on 26 January 1938 and when Cooper retired in 1940 Douglas became sectary of the AAL. Nicholls spent a brief time as a soldier in the Citizen Military Force. Doug’s next endeavour was working in welfare and religious services. In January 1943 he started ‘Aboriginal Sunday’ which later became National Aborigines and Islanders Day. Douglas conducted vigorous ministry from a chapel in Gore Street, in Fitzroy, which branched off to many future ventures. Doug used preaching and protesting to grab attention from people and make them aware of what was going on. In 1957 the former Victorian Aboriginal Protection Board became the Aborigines’ Welfare Board and he was appointed as an aboriginal representive. In May 1957 Nicholls formed the Victorian Aborigines Advancement League and the league used film to make awareness of the issues. On 1 December 1976 Sir Douglas was appointed Governor of South Australia, a huge achievement for an aboriginal man at that time. He even met the queen during her royal tour in March 1977. And these were only some of his achievements.
Doug Nicholls and other Indigenous people have fought for equal rights for a long time, these rights include access to medical supplies, the right to keep their land, not to have their children taken away, not to be treated like slaves and more things that everyone should be allowed. The government policies such as the White Australia policy have stated that Australia should be a ‘white country’ and even though the Aboriginal people were the original owners of the Australian land, it was always the aim to get rid of this race. The indigenous people were never seen as equals and it was a long battle for them to gain equal rights. Many Indigenous leaders have led the long battle for equality; these leaders include Doug Nicholls, William Cooper, Jack Patten, and many more. They have dedicated their lives to the fight and Australia should be eternally grateful and proud.
Sir Douglas Nicholls died on 4 June 1988 at Mooroopna. But during his life he achieved so much. He played a major part in the fight for aboriginal rights. Douglas Nicholls grabbed the attention of the people and made them aware of the troubles surrounding the Indigenous people at that time. Without his contribution the Indigenous people may not be where they are today. Sir Douglas Nicholls is a truly inspirational person. And will always be remembered not only the Indigenous race but by all Australians.
The Above Photo is from the website http://www.footyalmanac.com.au/jack-sexton-doug-nicholls-and-an-understated-sense-of-social-purpose/
This Image clearly shows how it was a huge achievement for Doug to get so high up in football, he is the only Aboriginal man on the team, this put him in the view of the public and helped him get the message out there to make people aware of the issues going on within the Indigenous community.
This image shows Douglas meeting Queen Elizabeth. This was a huge achievement for an aboriginal man. He met her in March 1977 during the Silver Jubilee tour.
This image is from the website http://www.theage.com.au/ftimages/2006/02/17/1140151811779.html
The Above image was taken from the website http://www.kooriweb.org/foley/heroes/nicholls.html
This Photograph shows Nicholls Preaching to the people, he was an incredible leader and led many people in the fight for indigenous equality.
"You can play a tune on black keys, you can play a tune on white keys, but both are needed for perfect harmony."
PASTOR DOUG NICHOLLS
The above quote from Doug Nicholls represents how Black and White people must work together to make Australia great. The ‘Black keys’ represent the aboriginal people and the ‘White keys’ represent the white people. The quote was found on: http://www.australianinspiration.com.au/Quotes/Authors/N/NichollsPastorDoug.aspx
"All we want is to be able to think and do the same things as white people, while still retaining our identity as a people."
PASTOR DOUG NICHOLLS
This particular quote puts down the White’s offer to the Indigenous people that they can join society if they assimilate into the ‘White’ way of life. He states that they have the right to maintain their own culture as well as to have equal rights as the other people in society. It was found on:
This image shows Doug protesting for Aboriginal rights. He walks proudly with all the other Indigenous people. Without his participation the gain of aboriginal equality may have taken even longer. This image was taken from http://treatyrepublic.net/content/waywurru-and-dhudhuroa-people-support-lake-tyers
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