by Dr Joanna Cruickshank
This research project is Joanna Cruickshank’s primary research task within an ARC Linkage Project, the Minutes of Evidence Project: Promoting New and Collaborative Ways of Understanding Australia’s Past and Engaging with Structural Justice, led by the University of Melbourne. It examines the role of women in the 1881 Victorian Commission of Inquiry into the Coranderrk Aboriginal Reserve, when Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people campaigned for the rights of Coranderrk residents. The first part of the project is an analysis of the role of Aboriginal women who spoke out during the Inquiry, calling for justice for themselves and their families. The second part of the project is a biography of Ann Bon, an ally of the Coranderrk residents and the only woman appointed to the Victorian Board of Protection. This project draws attention to the way in which issues of gender were central to both oppressive and co-operative relations between non-Indigenous and Indigenous people.