Shirley Andrews Writes to McLeod on Pilbara Bulletin
73 Union St
8 April 1956
I seem to have led you up a gum tree about the stencils of those Bulletins you want. It now appears that the stencils of our Bulletin No. 6. have not been kept. I did ask the place that does our Bulletins to keep those particular stencils, and they have had a great search but nothing has come to light. However, I am getting a special summary done for you. It will have all the material about the Pilbara in it including a brief summary of some of the latest material you have sent me. Some of the stencils about Moola Bulla are still on hand so I may include that as well, and make it a summary on developments in the north-west of W.A. It should be ready in a couple of weeks time, and I will send it over to Perth to the address you gave me, unless I hear from you to the contrary. I understood from one of your later letters that you have someone teed up to circulate these. I’m very sorry about his hold-up, but you know how these things happen. I hoped that the stencils might turn up as otherwise I would have got on with preparing something to take their place before this.
Thanks for the various bits of information you have been sending over. I hope they make sense the way I have written them up. I sent that report you forwarded for the Apex Club with an account of your experiences. I tried to make that as tactful as possible and didn’t mention any names. I went to the dinner the Apex Club had here to launch their scheme. The people who sponsored this scheme who are from the Morwell district in Victoria are obviously sincere and very keen to make their scheme a success, but I didn’t think much of their solutions to the problems. They are much too keen on the semi-charitable work and not interested in really fighting the Government on this issue. Apex consists mainly of brash young business men so it wouldn’t be reasonable to expect too much. On the other hand it is a very respectable organisation and gets very good publicity so that the general result is likely to be good in that it will reach people that would not be contacted by other organisations. Their ideas about doing away with discriminatory ideas among their own members are quite good. It would be a good lever to use on white people in W.A. If you could get Mr Vickers or someone like that to try and force the issue with the W.A. Apex people. that could be very valuable.
Have there been any developments about the LAC 40 that you need. I wrote to Mr Calwell and sent him the Bulletin on Moola Bulla and told him that you had been my source of information. He wrote back and said he wanted to see me. When I got there I was rather baffled at the turn the conversation took, as he seemed to think I had asked for the interview. However, at one stage he came near enough to hand me something and there was a good rich smell of second-hand alcohol! I realised why the conversation seemed to be staggering from side to side. However, I gathered that he is very interested in your efforts, and is anxious to put one over Dr Evatt on the subject of Aborigines. Apparently the Labour Party is waking up that it has shockingly neglected the Aborigines. Calwell is obviously very jealous of Dr Evatt and is very keen to be the ‘first with the latest’. I would continue to get on his back for assistance whenever the opportunity presents itself.
If you have any time for correspondence up north, I would appreciate any news you can give me about developments there. People are always asking how your Pilbara people are getting on. What is the situation about the 4 pastoral properties now? I have been asked about them on numerous occasions. I would rather like to write up some of your leading Aborigines [illegible] some details about their lives. Ernie Mitchell would b e a good one to start with.
You seem to be having a good time arguing with Mr Middleton in print. Do you know the address of the Coolbaroo League? I sent the money for a subscription to what I thought was their address some months ago but haven’t heard anything yet.
I sent on your letter to Doug Nicholls as requested. I think it is an excellent idea to keep in touch with him as he really did seem to be somewhat stiffened up as a result of your visit. He is still much too meek of course, but he has improved a lot. He told the Apex Club they should be concerned about changing the legislation but unfortunately he is not a good speaker, and good points get lost in a mass of verbiage so that it is difficult to follow what he does mean on most occasions.
After a disastrous start at Xmas, the Melbourne weather took a turn for the better and we have had a very good summer with lots of warm dry weather, but the beastly cold weather is coming up now. It’s just as well I do enjoy skiing otherwise the winter would be quite intolerable here.
Hope you are getting on well with the new schemes for pearl shell, etc.
With best wishes.
Shirley Andrews to Don McLeod, 8 April 1956, Barry Christophers Papers, National Library of Australia, MS 7992/28/1473.