Pearl Gibbs changed Australia's constitution. Pearl joined forces with activists Jessie Street and Faith Bandler to campaign for the 1967 referendum. Together they campaigned for over 10 years, collecting more than 100,000 signatures. 90.77% of Australians voted yes during the 1967 referendum. For the first time Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were formally recognised as part of Australia's population.
Over the course of her lifetime Pearl "knew and called upon Australians of all kinds, from all rungs of society" tochampion self-determination and sovereignty for First Nations people (Gilbert, 2005). She is recognised as one the most important women activists in the early 20th century.
To tell Pearl's story, these are some of the sources we consulted...
To hear contemporary First Nation's people perspective on the legacy of the 1967 referendum listen to ABC's podcast The 1967 Referendum
Our ability to tell Pearl's story was made possible by the following people...
Our ability to tell Pearl's story was made possible by the dedicated work of First Nations researchers and activists.
Mural of Pearl Gibbs by artist Matt Adnate
This mural can be found in Dubbo (on the corner of Talbragar and Darling streets)
Vote Yes for Aborigines Poster 1967
You can find this poster at the National Library of Australia
Image from the Aboriginal Day of Mourning, 26 January 1938
You will find this item at the State Library of New South Wales
We wish to acknowledge the traditional owners and custodians of country – the Ngunnawal, Ngunawal and Ngambri people. We pay our respects to the people, the cultures and the elders past, present and emerging.