In 1957, Ella Simon of Purfleet mission near Taree, New South Wales, applied for and was granted a certificate of exemption.
Exemption gave her legal freedoms denied to other Indigenous Australians at that time: she could travel freely, open a bank account, and live and work where she wanted. In the eyes of the law she became a non-Aboriginal, but in return she could not associate -with other Aboriginal people – even her own family or
It ‘stank in my nostrils’ -- Ella Simon 1978.
These personal and often painful histories uncovered in archives, family stories and lived experiences reveal new perspectives on exemption. Black, White and Exempt describes the resourcefulness of those who sought exemption to obtain freedom from hardship and oppressive regulation of their lives as Aboriginal Australians. It celebrates their resilience and explores how they negotiated exemption to protect their families and increase opportunities for them. The book also charts exemptees who struggled to advance Aboriginal rights, resist state control and abolish the exemption system.
- 230mm x 152mm
- 224pp (8 pages of photos)
- Released January 2021
- ISBN 9781925302332
Introduction: Histories and Lived Experiences of Aboriginal
Exemption in Australia.
1. Exemption: The Official and Unofficial Impact.
2. The Poisoned Chalice: Exemption Policies in Twentieth Century Australia and the Writing of ‘History’.
2.1 The Genealogy of Exemption Policies.
2.2 The ‘Lived Experience’ of Exemption.
2.3 The Archives of Exemption and Their Challenge to the (my) Writing of ‘History’.
3. Creating the Space for Exemption in New South Wales.
4. ‘Playing the Game’: Aboriginal Exemption in Queensland and New South Wales.
5. ‘I intend to go off the Boards hands altogether’.
5.1 ‘We would all rather battle on out among white people’.
6. Destination of Pupil ‘Unknown’: Indigenous Mobility between Schools in Victoria and New South Wales.
7. Ella Simon’s Certificate of Exemption.
8. Exemption, Mobility, Migration: Indigenous Australian Women’s Marriages to American Servicemen in the World War Two.
9. Smash the Exemption System!
About The Author
Dr Lucinda Aberdeen is an Adjunct Senior Research Fellow, School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Shepparton campus La Trobe University. Lucinda’s research interests include ageing, assistive technology, human rights, policy evaluation, racism and the Australian state and youth transitions.
Assoc. Prof. Jennifer Jones is a Senior Lecturer in Interdisciplinary Studies at La Trobe University’s Albury Wodonga campus. Jennifer’s research interests include Indigenous Australian history and biography, Indigenous Australian Literature, cross cultural collaboration, rural and religious history and histories of education.
About The Cover
Cover photograph of Daisy Smith with her daughter Valma, circa 1950, courtesy of Judi Wickes.