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Neville Bonner AO: Australia’s First Indigenous Parliamentarian

A study of Neville Thomas Bonner AO by Wesley Barton Walters

About the exhibition

From 27 May 2021 visit Australian Parliament House to see our exhibition marking 50 years since Neville Bonner AO became the first Indigenous Australian to enter the Federal Parliament. 

Neville Bonner represented Queensland and the Liberal Party in the Senate from 1971 to 1983. In 1967, he campaigned in the national referendum to recognise Indigenous Australians in the constitution. He was named Australian of the Year in 1979 and made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 1984. 

The exhibition will include the portrait of Neville Bonner by artist Wesley Barton Walters (1928-2014), from the Parliament House Historic Memorials Collection. 

Cultural warning

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this exhibition contains images, voices, and names of deceased persons. In addition, the exhibition may contain terms or views that were acceptable within mainstream Australian culture in the period in which they were created but may no longer be considered appropriate.

Image: Wesley Barton Walters (1928–2014) Neville Thomas Bonner AO (study) (detail), 1979. Oil on canvas. Historic Memorials Collection, Parliament House Art Collection.

Previous exhibited
Thursday 27 May to Sunday 11 July 2021

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We acknowledge the traditional owners and custodians of country throughout Australia and acknowledge their continuing connection to land, waters and community. We pay our respects to the people, the cultures and the elders past, present and emerging.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this website may contain images and voices of deceased people.