The Lone Protestor

AM Fernando in Australia and Europe

Cover of the Lone Protestor featuring a man on a podium.

Fiona PAISLEY

Availability: Print

2012, pb, 230x152mm, 256pp, b&w illus
RRP $34.95 incl. GST
ISBN 9781922059055

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Winner of the Magarey Medal for Biography 2014.

Extract of judges’ comments: [The judges noted] [T]he meticulous research, and the grasp and evocation of the national and international context, and the politics of the archive. The assured narrative reveals without pronouncing. Paisley's is an intelligent, nuanced and compelling biography set within an insightful and analytical framework’

Audio extract of Acceptance speech

Extract of a review from Australian Historical Studies, Vol. 44, Issue 2, May 2013 by Catherine Hall. Read full review at http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1031461X.2013.793237

This is both an inspiring and painful story, built on a complex set of records, of a man who acted alone without the support of a community around him and who was partially destroyed by the harshness of his encounters with a world that was for the most part hostile. [...]

The Lone Protestor deserves to be widely read. Fernando understood empire. He insisted on metropolitan as well as settler responsibility for colonial violence and understood the ways in which imperial rule had impacted on daily life in Britain as well as Australia. He was a modern man.

The late 1920s saw an extraordinary protest by an Australian Aboriginal man on the streets of London. Standing outside Australia House, cloaked in tiny skeletons, Anthony Martin Fernando condemned the failure of British rule in his country.

Fernando is believed to be the first Aboriginal person to protest conditions in Australia from the streets of Europe. His various forms of action, from pamphlets on the streets of Rome to the famous Speaker's Corner in Hyde Park, distinguish this lone protestor as a unique Aboriginal activist of his time.

Drawn from an extensive search in archives from Australia and Europe, this is the first full-length study of Fernando and the self-professed mission that was to last half of his adult life.

Paisley brings to light new episodes in Fernando's activist career as well as previously unknown details about his extraordinary life in Australia and overseas. Her account dramatically shifts our understanding of the international reach of Aboriginal protest in this era.

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