Dictionary of Sydney

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Redfern Aboriginal Authority

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Redfern Aboriginal Authority

The Redfern Aboriginal Authority, first known as the Organisation for Aboriginal Unity, was formed by 1983, as a peak body representing Aboriginal organisations. Representatives from key organisations, including the Metropolitan Aboriginal Land Council, the Aboriginal Housing Company, the Aboriginal Medical Service, the Aboriginal Legal Service, Tribal Warrior Association and Murawina, banded together as a lobby group, initially in opposition to perceived deficiencies in the proposed New South Wales Aboriginal land rights laws of 1983.

In April 1983 the organisation released a statement calling, among other demands, for all unalienated crown land to be transferred to local Aboriginal communities, and for treaty negotiations to be initiated. [1]

In 2004, the organisation once again gained prominence for its stance against New South Wales government plans to reacquire land at Redfern, in particular The Block. In November 2004 the New South Wales Redfern-Waterloo Authority Act was quietly slipped through Parliament. [2]

The Organisation for Aboriginal Unity acted swiftly, issuing a series of press releases that decried the plan as an attempt to dispossess the Aboriginal community of land hard won through the struggle for Aboriginal rights. [3]

The organisation was renamed the Redfern Aboriginal Authority in 2005, in direct response to the establishment of the Redfern-Waterloo Authority. [4]


[1] 'OAU Speaks Out', Aboriginal Law Bulletin, vol 1 no 7, April 1983, available at http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/journals/AboriginalLB/1983/5.html

[2] Elizabeth Farrelly, 'Secret business puts a community at risk', Sydney Morning Herald, 29 November 2004

[3] Redfern Organisation of Aboriginal Unity, Setback for Aboriginal Land Rights in Australia, media release, Sydney, 2 December 2004, available at http://lists.perthimc.asn.au/pipermail/blackgreensolidarity/2004-December/000067.html

[4] Redfern Aboriginal Authority, Sol Bellear to lead new Aboriginal Authority, media release, 21 September 2005, available at http://www.redwatch.org.au/media/050921raa1