The Sunraysia Daily 1966–1974 

Mathieu Gallois, 2013
Artist Statement

The Sunraysia Daily 1966 – 1974 documents key articles relating to Aboriginal affairs and race relations in Mildura’s local paper, the Sunraysia Daily, between 1966 –1974.

The period 1966 – 1974 includes the 1967 national referendum and the discovery of Mungo Woman and Man. The former amended the Australian constitution to count Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in the national census of the population and to give the Commonwealth Government power to make specific laws for Indigenous people. The latter established Australian Aboriginal culture as humanities oldest continuous culture (more than 40,000 years old).

The Sunraysia Daily 1966 – 1974 reveals that this period was one of significant evolution in the tone and content of articles about Aboriginal people in the Sunraysia Daily. Over this period parts of Mildura’s non Aboriginal community rallied in support of Mildura’s Aboriginal community, Mildura’s Aboriginal community views where reported in the Sunraysia Daily, and issues relating to Aboriginal people became more prominent in the paper. That said, many significant historical issues of the period, such as the the establishment of the Aboriginal Tent embassy in Canberra and the discovery of Mungo Man and Mungo Woman received very little coverage in the Sunraysia Daily. The only mention of the latter (which was front page news in Australia’s national newspapers) was in 1972 – it is reproduced on page 17 of this artwork publication.

To coincide with the launching of Mildura Palimpsest Biennale #9‏, 7500 copies of the artwork The Sunraysia Daily 1966 – 1974 have been printed and distributed for free as an insert into the Sunraysia Daily on Friday 4 October, 2013.

Please note that all the articles have been reproduced 25% larger than their original size to make them easier to read.

The Sunraysia Daily 1966 – 1974 is the second installment of a series of works that in their entirety, will document how Aboriginal and Torris Strait Islander people in Australia have been represented in white fella newspapers in Australia and Britain since 1788.

The series have their origin with the work To Move Forward To A Destiny of Full Equality: The Wellington Times 1944–1965 (2012). My grandfather Ernest Moulton (1905–1966), a British migrant who settled in Wellington in 1944, purchased the local paper, the Wellington Times, and as editor became a prominent conservative voice in the community for the next twenty-one years. Taking form as an historical analysis, To Move Forward To Destiny of Full Equality: The Wellington Times 1944–1965 (2012) features a series of twenty-one front pages of the paper selected for their rare reference to the Aboriginal communities of the region.

I would like to acknowledge the support and help of the following groups and individuals who made this artwork publication possible: the Indigenous Joint Management Committee of Mungo National Park and Willandra Lakes World Heritage Area, my local research assistant Whitney Upokomaki, Ricky Mitchell, the Mildura Library, the State Library of Victoria; and my dear friends Helen Vivian and Ross Lake.

Mathieu Gallois

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