Established 1926

The Native Union was formed by Aboriginal activists in WA, led by William Harris. Its aim was “to secure equality for Aborigines in all spheres of West Australian cultural and social life”, through the establishment of cultural centres with educational facilities in metropolitan and country areas.

One of the Native Union’s key actions was to lead a delegation of Aboriginal activists to the WA Premier, Phillip Collier, in 1928.

They advocated – among other things – for reforms and repeals related to Aboriginal experiences of family separation, child removal and institutionalisation of children in WA. The activists’ key points included the need to abolish the Moore River Native Settlement, that Aboriginal children should not be taken from their parents, and that the practice of forced relocation of Aboriginal people be stopped.

All these issues could be traced back, they argued, to the passing of the WA Aborigines Act 1905.

People: William Harris; Edward Harris; Norman Cleaver Harris; Algernon Kicket; Edward Jacobs; Wilfred Morrison; William Bodney.

External Links: Western Mail, 15 March 1928.


George Ganitis, “Early Aboriginal Civil Resistance in WA: the Untold Story of William Harris”, Overland, 1 Nov 2018

Anna Haebich, “Forgetting Indigenous Histories: Cases from the Histories of Australia’s Stolen Generations”, Journal of Social History, 2011, Vol.44, No.4, pages 1033-1046 (see particularly pages 1037-1038).