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James Dawson
James Dawson
Photographs supplied by Kent Watson

Plaque to James Dawson pioneer settler, protector of Aborigines, and author of "Australian Aborigines". Dawson is remembered as an amateur ethnographer and his book "Australian Aborigines. The Languages and Customs of Several Tribes of Aborigines in the Western District of Victoria, Australia" was published in Melbourne in 1881 and for his sympathetic interest in the Aboriginals.

He was appointed a protector of Aborigines and gave evidence to the 1877 royal commission on their condition, severely criticizing the assumptions upon which current aboriginal policy was based and its results.

He considered that the Aboriginals were entitled to government support without obligation, and that it was unfair to restrict their movements and to press unpalatable employment and religion upon them. In the 1880s Dawson collected money from the settlers around Camperdown for a monument to the last local Aboriginals.


Address:Cemetery Road, Wombeetch Puyuun memorial, Camperdown Cemetery, Camperdown, 3260
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -38.21783
Long: 143.116873
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:People
Approx. Event Start Date:1806
Approx. Event End Date:1900


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:1983
Front Inscription

This plaque commemorates the remarkable work of pioneer settler and naturalist James Dawson. Born 1806 in Scotland, landed in Hobson`s Bay in 1840 and died at Camperdown in 1900. Through his efforts this obelisk was erected. He was friend and protector of district aborigines, and with his daughter Isabella, who spoke the local dialects, was author of the book Australia Aborigines. He was associated with district properties Wuurong, Renny Hill and Wooriwyrite.
Presented by the Camperdown Historical Society 1983

Source: VMR,MA,ADB
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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