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Native legends
Title : Native legends Native legends
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Creator : Unaipon, David
Place Of Creation : Adelaide
Publisher : Hunkin Ellis & King
Date of creation : [c1929]
Format : Book
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Description :

A Ngarrindjeri man born in 1872 at Raukkan (then Point McLeay), David Unaipon was a writer, public speaker, lay preacher and inventor who made significant contributions to science and literature, and improvements in the living conditions of Aboriginal people.

Unaipon was one of Australia's first Aboriginal writers. From the early 1920s he studied and recorded Aboriginal myths and legends, contributing to a greater understanding and preservation of Aboriginal culture. Unaipon was the first Indigenous author to be published: Aboriginal legends:Hungarrda (1927), Aboriginal legends:Kinie Ger - The Native Cat (1928) and Native Legends (1929). He also wrote Myths and Legends of the Australian Aboriginals (1930), which was commissioned and published without acknowledgement by W Ramsay Smith. Unaipon published further newspaper articles, poetry and legends throughout his life.

As an inventor, Unaipon developed and patented a modified handpiece for shearing. Between 1909 and 1944 he made patent applications for a number of other inventions, including a centrifugal motor, and in following years he continued to research perpetual motion.

Unaipon travelled widely working for the Aborigines' Friends' Association. He preached sermons and gave talks on Aboriginal legends and customs. He sought recognition of Aboriginal peoples' rights, and was accepted as his people's spokesman, influencing government Aboriginal policy.

Unaipon's remarkable lifetime of achievements was formally recognised in 1953 when he was awarded the Coronation Medal. In 1988 the national David Unaipon award for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers was established and UniSA also founded the annual David Unaipon Lecture. He is commemorated on the 50 dollar note.

Period : 1927-1939
Further reading :

Kwan, Elizabeth. 'David Unaipon (1872-1967)', Living in South Australia: a social history, Netley, S. Aust.: South Australian Government Printer, 1987, vol. 2, p. 186-187

Unaipon, David. My life story, [Adelaide: Aborigines Friends' Association], 1951

Unaipon, David. Leaves of memory, [Adelaide: Aborigines' Friends' Association, 1953]

Willmot, Eric. Dilemma of mind, Underdale, S. Aust.: Kaurna Higher Education Centre, Aboriginal Studies Key Centre, University of South Australia, 1991

Internet links :
atmitchellsee: Indigenous Australians: David Unaipon

Australian Dictionary of Biography onlinesee: Unaipon, David (1872-1967)

The Unaipon School UniSA: David and James Unaipon



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