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November 10th 2011 print

Geoffrey Partington

Origins of Bennelong Society

This paper by Geoffrey Partington on the origins of the Bennelong society is an excellent introduction to its work.


This paper by Geoffrey Partington on the origins of the Bennelong Society is an excellent introduction to its work.


The Origins of the Bennelong Society

Geoffrey Partington

During the weekend of 1­2 December 2000, a workshop took place in Melbourne, organised by Peter Howson, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs in the McMahon Government from 1970­-71. This Melbourne workshop was a follow-up to the conferences organised by Quadrant in Sydney in August 1999 and in September 2000 on Aboriginal policy.

Those present at the workshop resolved to establish the Bennelong society.

The Bennelong society website was launched by Senator the Hon. John Herron, Minister for Aboriginal affairs in the Howard government from 1996-2001 on 15 May 2001.

The Bennelong society held a conference each year between 2001 and 2008.

The final public event of the Bennelong society was the Peter Howson inaugural lecture given by Bess Price in December 2009.

Peter Howson died on 1 February 2009, aged 89.

In October 2011, the board decided to suspend its operations but preserve the name, which remains registered with the Victorian authorities and contains the names of the board members at that time, Gary Johns, Des Moore, Wesley Aird, Professor Jim Franklin, Anthony Dillon, Ray Evans, Rev. Steve Etherington PhD, Dr Stephanie Jarrett, Douglas Meagher, E.D., Q.C., Jenness Warin and Bill Kerley.

Read "The Origins of the Bennelong Society", with Foreword by Geoffrey Blainey, (pdf) here…