16 February 2015

 

Vale Faith Bandler - civil rights hero

The NSW Aboriginal Land Council has paid tribute to Faith Bandler as a champion of civil rights for Aboriginal people in Australia.

Faith Bandler passed away over the weekend aged 96, leaving a legacy that touched every Aboriginal person in Australia.

It was Ms Bandler's relentless advocacy throughout the 1960s that paved the way for the granting of citizenship to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the emphatic yes vote in the 1967 referendum. 

This week, while we commemorate another key civil rights movement, the Freedom Ride of 1965, we also honour Faith Bandler's contribution.

The single-minded determination of Faith Bandler and the bravery of the Freedom Ride through segregated towns in regional NSW, created positive momentum to right many of the wrongs for Aboriginal people in Australia.

Aboriginal people will always respect and remember Faith Bandler, who exposed the injustices and empowered Aboriginal people to fight for the civil rights they had for too long been denied. 

Out of these civil rights emerged Land Rights and in New South Wales, the passage of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act which has allowed us to realise the cultural, social and economic needs of our people.

Faith Bandler will remain an inspiration and hero to so many Aboriginal Australians who will mourn her passing and reflect on an extraordinary legacy for future generations to build on.