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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Indigenous Australian's skull given as a Christmas gift

Indigenous Australian's skull given as a Christmas gift

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I was looking at newspaper archives for items on the Whyalla Gift and was staggered to read the following item in a 1945 edition of The Mail.

The headline is as it appeared in the paper.

Thankfully we've come a long way since this sort of headline & story was considered acceptable.

Even then, it is still incredibly racist, even for 1945.


The Mail
22 Dec 1945

WHYALLA.— Nurses at Whyalla Hospital are to receive one of the year's most original Christmas presents — an aboriginal skull wrapped in cellophane. It will be the gift of Mr Sam Bang, a shipyards foreman. The skull, which was unearthed when foundations were being dug for Kerrs Building, in Forsyth street, came into the possession of Mr. Ken Reed, Whyalla businessman and naturalist.

This week Mr. Bang admired the skull so much Mr. Reed gave it to him. - When Dr. Zyinett, of Whyalla Hospital, saw the skull, he said it would be valuable for lectures for the nurses, so Mr. Bang decided that, suitably wrapped, it should be his gift to the nurses.

2 Pro Racing Racism on Fri Nov 29, 2013 6:06 pm


ProTrack A Grader
ProTrack A Grader
Paul, indeed that story from 1945 is a shocker.

Nowadays in sprinting in Australia, we happily accept that we have heroes Nova Peris, Cathy Freeman, Patrick Johnson and Josh Ross.

But from a conversation today with an old mate who works in history/anthropology, I have some more clues how, less than one hundred years ago, things were very different.

My mate Tom said he recently interviewed an old man who said he had run second in a pro race in 1931 but was disqualified when it was discovered that he was aboriginal.

I am not sure as to the details, but it seems that the South Australia pro running circuit (or at least races in Burra and Peterborough) had rules which barred aboriginal competitors.

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