William Ferguson Memorial Statue

Hi to everyone who donated to this important campaign. Thanks to you and many others the statue has become a reality and will be unveiled on Saturday 4 May, 2.00 PM at the corner of Church Streets and Macquarie Streets, Dubbo. Prior to the launch there will be entertainment in the Rotunda from 1.00 PM by descendants of William Ferguson, followed by a BBQ in the park. All welcome.

Donations no longer required and this site will become redundant from Friday 26 April. Many thanks once again.

William 'Bill' Ferguson (1882 - 1950)
, one of Australia's most significant early to mid 20th century Aboriginal activists, was born on Warangesda Mission at Darlington Point, NSW, to a Scottish father and a Wiradjuri mother.

Along with other key Aboriginal activists of the 1920s and 1930s,  Ferguson was concerned at the increasing power wielded by New South Wales Aborigines' Protection Board over Aboriginal communities.

This led Ferguson to hold a public meeting at the Masonic Hall in Dubbo, NSW, on 27 June, 1937, calling for the establishment of the Aborigines' Progressive Association. This action was one of the first Aboriginal-initiated civil rights initiatives in Australia. 

The following year Ferguson and his peers, William Cooper and Jack Patten, organised the Day of Mourning. Held on 26 January at Australian Hall, Sydney, this momentous occasion shone a spotlight on the maltreatment of Aboriginal peoples throughout 150 years of colonisation. Noted as 'the first national civil rights gathering and represents the most clearly identifiable beginning of the contemporary Aboriginal political movement’.

Ferguson dedicated his life to fighting for his people, initiating and/or participating in significant Aboriginal rights actions up to his death on 4 January, 1950 at Dubbo Base Hospital.

Eight decades after Ferguson established the Aborigines' Progressive Association, an action group comprising his descendants and supporters are raising funds to erect a statue commemorating this great Aboriginal and civil rights forerunner.

The statue will be a testament to Ferguson's lifetime commitment to his people and also provide inspiration for future generations of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people to work together to achieve social justice and equity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

Your contribution will help make this dream a reality and ensure that an Aboriginal cultural warrior's lifelong dedication to his people and fight for self-determination is acknowledged and honoured with a memorial statue in his hometown of Dubbo, near the site of Ferguson's first civil rights action.

A fundraising event is also being held at Australia Hall, Sydney, 150 - 152 Elizabeth Street, Sydney, 6 pm start, on 4 November, 2017. For further information please contact:

Ruth Waite, 02 [phone redacted]0, [email redacted]
Meg Huddleston, 0400 382 084, [email redacted].au
Willie Ferguson, 0427 281 090
Rod Towney, 0418 611 572

Further reading:
http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/ferguson-william-bill-6160 http://indigenousrights.net.au/people/pagination/william_ferguson https://dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/aborigines_progressive_association 
https://www.dubbophotonews.com.au/news/general-news/people/item/4498-long-road-to-justice-bill-ferguson-1882-1950-inspiring-civil-rights-leader  http://www.dailyliberal.com.au/story/3192255/aboriginal-hero-to-be-immortalised-at-dubbo/ 

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Brenda L Croft 
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