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Jewish Students Society
ANUJSS and the Nulla Nullas
The Nulla Nullas was a children's Club run at Wallaga Lake Aboriginal Reserve, south coast of NSW, during 1964-1966
There is a "sense of shared experiences between the Jewish community and Aborigines,
epitomised by the pioneering legal work of the late Ron Castan QC and Jewish
involvement in the key High Court land-rights cases of Mabo and Wik."
The first notable interaction between Jews and Aborigines occurred during the 1840\'s when Isaac Nathan, - known as \"the father of Australian music\"- began collecting Aboriginal music and recording their ceremonies and customs. The image is of Nathan\'s score for War-Goon-Da Min-Yah-Rah, a song of the Maneroo tribe.
Isaac Nathan\'s book, Southern Euphrosyne, published in both London & Sydney in 1849, is a compilation of aboriginal music, and of aboriginal customs and ceremonies. Includes a very strong statement by Nathan of the educational potential of aboriginal children.
About 1860, the large Solomon family commenced trading and farming in the Eden Monaro district. At Eden, the Solomons joined forces with a Mr Davidson, running a shore-based whaling station at Twofold Bay, employing mainly aboriginal workers in this demanding industry. The Solomon/Davidson whaling operation ceased about 1916.
The spiritual beliefs of aboriginal whalers were recognised by the Solomon Davidson management. The Yuin refused to kill whales and established a partnership with the orcas (or killer whales) in which the orca pack herded whales which were killed by Yuin whalers, who fed choice parts to the orcas.
One of several posters placed about campus to advertise the inaugural meeting of the ANU Jewish Students Society, on March 21. 1963. 14 attended - a large number for the ACT Jewish population of about 150 - but very small for a viable society.
Wallaga Lake is on the far south coast of New South Wales, just a few km north of Bermagui, and circa 110km from Twofold Bay (the whaling area near Eden). In 1891 the Wallaga Lake Aboriginal Reserve was established with a population of just 91 Yuin people.
The two Yirrkalla petitions were presented to Federal Parliament in August 1963. These bark paintings are arguably the first claims made on the basis of indigenous law. Assisting in preparing this petition was Labour MP Kim Beazley (senior).
SAFA Student Action for Aborigines bus at Walgett. On Feb 12 1965 the “Freedom Bus” set out from Sydney under the leadership of Charles Perkins and Jim Spigelman. For two weeks the Freedom Bus toured NSW country towns.
The sixties were the era of the civil rights era in the USA. This prompted much concern in Australia as to the situation of our Frst Nation. In Sydney the SAFA bus tour was being organised in late 1965. Offered a place on the SAFA Freedom bus Harvey Cohen refused and instead lead ANUJSS in a non-political approach. His scheme was to run an aboriginal children's club to enrich the children's experience and provide then with links to middle class mentors.
Distant View across Wallaga Lake of Wallaga Lake Aboriginal Reserve Village. Mt Dromedary (nowadays called Guluga Mountain) looms above. In 1965 the village comprised twenty houses without elecricity, the managers house with elecricity, Meeting hall, and ration shed. Prior to 1964 the meeting hall had been an aboriginal-only school, but by 1965 all children living on the reserve attended the local school at Bermagui. Few residents in the village were Juin as the Board relocated here families - largely single parent - from anywhere in NSW.
Two aboriginal girls at play at the site near Yass considered as closer (60km to Canberra) alternative to Wallaga Lake (242 km). At Yass no manager, no phones, and the homes were pathetic lean-to shanties. And this fringe settlement had recently been in the news on account of a murder.