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Fred Eaton
Title : Fred Eaton Fred Eaton
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Creator : Mountford, Charles P., photographer
Source : PRG 1218/34/764
Date of creation : ca. 1937
Format : Photograph
Dimensions : 60 x 60 mm
Contributor : State Library of South Australia
Catalogue record
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Description :

Fred Eaton, Missionary at Nepabunna.

A carpenter by trade, Fred Eaton worked on stations around the northern Flinders Ranges. He and his wife were involved in the United Aborigines Mission children's home in Oodnadatta, and then together with Jim Page, they established the Nepabunna Mission in 1931.

After the death of Page in 1935, the Eatons continued to oversee the Mission. Under the structure of the settlement, the Missionaries had total power over its administration, and the lives of the residents. With support from a small staff, the Mission administered medical care, ration distribution, educational services, and the general store.

Its primary aim however, was to convert the residents to Christianity. To this end, Eaton was strongly opposed to the continuation of Adnyamathanha initiation rites, and campaigned for their cessation. This caused unease in his relationship with Mountford, who was of course keen to witness such rites during his time in Nepabunna, and actively encouraged a ceremony to take place. 'There was a mutual dislike between Eaton and Mountford, and strong moral dissaproval on both sides.' (Brock, 1993, p. 149) Eaton was successful however, and initiation ceremonies had ceased by the time he left the Mission in the early 1950s.

According to the book Yura and Udnyu he is remembered as 'a humane man who fought hard for their rights, although in a paternalistic way.' (p. 50) He was an advocate for equal pay, and for improved medical care and education for Aboriginal people.

Related names :

Nepabunna Mission (S. Aust.)

Eaton, Fred

Period : 1927-1939
Place : Nepabunna
Region : Flinders Ranges and Far North - Outback
Further reading :

Brock, Peggy. Yura and Udnyu : a history of the Adnyamathanha of the North Flinders Ranges. Adelaide: Wakefield Press in association with the Aboriginal Heritage Branch, Dept. of Environment and Planning, South Australia, 1985.

Brock, Peggy. Outback ghettos : Aborigines, institutionalisation and survival. Cambridge (England); Melbourne: Cambridge University Press, 1993.

Challenging the almighty : 100 years of trusting God in the work of the United Aborigines Mission, Box Hill, Vic. : United Aborigines Mission, c199

Gerard, A. E. United Aborigines' Mission (of Australia) : an outline of the history of the mission particularly in South Australia, Adelaide : The Mission, [1950?] (Adelaide : Hunkin Ellis & King)

Lamshed, Max. 'Monty': the biography of C.P. Mountford. Adelaide: Rigby, 1972. Ch. 10.

Survival in our own land : 'Aboriginal' experiences in 'South Australia' since 1836. told by Nungas and others ; edited and researched by Christobel Mattingley, co-edited by Ken Hampton. Adelaide: ALDAA in association with Hodder & Stoughton, 1988.

United Aborigines Mission (S. Aust.). Annual report of United Aborigines' Mission, Adelaide, S. Aust. : The Mission

Internet links :

Iga Warta - Accommodation and Cultural education on Adnyamathanha land

Nepabunna tourism

UAM Ministry (formerly United Aborigines' Mission)



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