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Australian Aboriginal Progress Association (1925 - 1927)

Indigenous Organisation and Political Group
Alternative Names
  • AAPA


Fred Maynard, a self-educated former drover who had been active in the Waterside Worker's Federation during the first World War, set up the Australian Aboriginal Progress Association (AAPA). The AAPA, officially launched in February 1925, was the 'first Aboriginal political organisation to create formal links between communities over a wide area'.

The more important aspect of its history is the fact that Fred Maynard and AAPA Secretary Tom Lacey were inspired by West Indian Black Nationalist Marcus Garvey and his Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) which had a branch in Sydney in 1920. Also vital was the role AAPA played in planting political seeds that flowered in future generations of indigenous political leaders in southeastern Australia. Future activists known to have been influenced by the AAPA were Jack Patten, Pearl Gibbs and Bill Onus. The secretary of the most active branch of the AAPA in Nambucca Heads was Jim Doyle, who was the great-grandfather of Gary Foley.

The AAPA campaigned for "freehold title to land, the cessation of the removal of Aboriginal children and the abolition of the NSW Aborigines Protection Board(APB). The AAPA's political activities were largely confined to the north coast of NSW but in its short existence managed to be a significant thorn in the side of the NSW APB. It eventually faded` out in around 1927

[Gary Foley]