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David UnaiponPrint Page Print this page

17-June-2021
17-June-2021
Photographs supplied by Denis Binnion

The plaque commemorates David Unaipon (1872 - 1967), a Ngarrindjeri man born on the banks of the River Murray, who with the Mission Church features on the Australian $50 banknote.

David Ngunaitponi known as David Unaipon, was an Aboriginal Australian man of the Ngarrindjeri people, a preacher, inventor and author. Unaipon's contribution to Australian society helped to break many Aboriginal Australian stereotypes, and he is featured on the Australian $50 note in commemoration of his work. He was the son of preacher and writer James Unaipon.

David Unaipon made significant contributions to science and literature and to improvements in the conditions of Aboriginal people. He was prominent in public life as a spokesman for Aboriginal people and was often called upon to participate in royal commissions and inquiries into Aboriginal issues.

Some of Unaipon's inventions include an improved hand tool for shearing sheep, a centrifugal motor, a multi-radial wheel and a mechanical propulsion device; he was unable, however, to get financial backing to develop his ideas. He gained a reputation at the time of being ‘Australia's Leonardo’ for his promotion of scientific ideas.

As an employee of the Aborigines' Friends' Association for many years, he travelled widely and became well known throughout south-eastern Australia. While on his travels, Unaipon lectured on his ideas, preached sermons and spoke about Aboriginal legends and customs. He also spoke of the need for ‘sympathetic co-operation’ between whites and blacks, and for equal rights for both black and white Australians.

Location

Address:Seymour Street, Point McLeay Mission Church, Raukkan Aboriginal Community, 5259
State:SA
Area:AUS
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -35.507622
Long: 139.132797
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Details

Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:People
Sub-Theme:Indigenous
Link:http://adb.anu.edu.au/

Dedication

Actual Monument Dedication Date:Sunday 5th May, 1968
Front Inscription

David Unaipon
(1872 - 1967)

The first Aboriginal person to feature on an Australian banknote, was born a Ngarrindjeri on the banks of the River Murray.

He went to school and lived much of his life here at Raukkan (Point McLeay).

Also featured on the $50 bank note is the Chapel, built in 1868 under the direction of Rev George Taplin.

Scientist, inventor, lay-preacher, author, and musician, Mr Unaipon dedicated himself to advancing the rights of Aboriginal People.

“In my despairing moments Providence has enabled me to take heart again and continue my advocacy of the rights of Aborigines to occupy a more worthy place in the life of the nation.”

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