Australia in the 1950s


Indigenous activism


In 1958, the Federal Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders (FCAATSI) was set up. This group brought together a number of Aboriginal organisations and welfare groups, and played a large part in bringing about the 1967 referendum. 

The National Aborigines Day Observance Committee (NADOC), which later became the National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC), agreed that an annual day of remembrance and celebration of Aboriginal people and their cultures be held on the second Sunday in July.


A snapshot of 1958

  • January
    • The first Opera House lottery is held in NSW to raise money for its construction.

  • February
    • The Federal Council for the Advancement of Aboriginals (FCAA) is established and later included Torres Strait Islanders.
    • Among its leaders are Faith Bandler and Chicka Dixon, and the poet Oodgeroo Noonuccal (Kath Walker).

  • August
    • Herb Elliott sets a world record in the mile distance race (3:54.5) at Morton Stadium in Dublin, Ireland.

  • September
    • The ANZAC Day Act 1958 receives Royal Assent, making Anzac Day (25 April) a national public holiday in Australia.

  • October
    • Sir Douglas Mawson, Antarctic explorer and geologist, dies at the age of 76.

  • November
    • The first television episode of Bandstand, hosted by Brian Henderson, goes to air on TCN-9.

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