William (Bill) FergusonPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Sandra Brown

The sculpture commemorates William (Bill) Ferguson who was an Aboriginal political activist.

Born in Darlington Point in 1882, Ferguson was the second son of seven children to a Scottish shearer and an Aboriginal housemaid.  At the age of 14 he left formal schooling after only 18 months to take up work as a shearer like his father.  It was in the shearing sheds that he became involved in political activism and became an organiser for the Australian Workers' Union.

During the 1920s he grew frustrated at the powers held by the Aborigines Protection Board, which had the ability to remove children from families because their parents were Aboriginal.  In 1936 he had enough so he decided to launch his own organisation,  the Aboriginal Progressive Association, with the help of Pearl Gibbs and William Cooper.

January 26, 1938, marked the 150th anniversary of the landing of the First Fleet in Australia, and while celebrations were held across the country, a group of Aboriginal men and women dressed in black gathered to march at Australia Hall in Sydney and declared it a Day of Mourning.  Ferguson, along with leading activists William Cooper and Doug Nicholls, organised the march to seek equality within the community.  As momentum built in the wake of the march, Ferguson, along with William Cooper and Jack Patten, met with Prime Minister Joseph Lyons to campaign for equal rights

His last speech in Church Street, delivered a few weeks before he died was a call for justice.

"To all you people of Aboriginal blood, I say…I am fighting for your freedom. Aboriginals still live under laws meant only to control criminals and lunatics : they are not allowed ordinary human rights ..."

He collapsed as he left the platform, and died of hypertensive heart disease in Dubbo Base Hospital on January 4, 1950.



Address:Church & Macquarie Streets, near Rotunda, Dubbo , 2830
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -32.246978
Long: 148.601599
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Sculpture
Monument Theme:People
Artist:Brett Garling (Wongarbon, NSW)


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Sunday 5th May, 2019
Front Inscription
( See attached document )


Left Side Inscription

Aborigines claim citizen rights !

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