Parliamentary Pillow belonging to Neville Bonner

Dupont; Target Australia Pty. Ltd.1971/1985

Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House

Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House

Neville Thomas Bonner AO was an Australian politician, and the first Indigenous Australian to become a member of the Parliament of Australia. Although he achieved much in his role in federal parliament until it ended in 1983, Neville Bonner remained a humble man and one who was alone for much of his time there. He always felt the responsibility of being the only Indigenous Member of Parliament. He said: ‘My whole political life was under scrutiny. The way I walked, the way I talked, the way I ate, the way I drank, everything I did was being judged … I felt that I had a responsibility to prove that we Aboriginal people had the ability and the willpower to be able to handle any situation, because if I failed, then my whole race would have been judged accordingly’. Years later he remarked of his time in this building and he said ‘It was worse than being out droving. I was treated like an equal on the floor of the chamber, neither giving nor asking quarter, but there were hours just sitting in my office and I went home alone to my unit at night. There was never one night when anyone said “hey let’s go out tonight”.’

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  • Title: Parliamentary Pillow belonging to Neville Bonner
  • Creator: Dupont; Target Australia Pty. Ltd.
  • Date: 1971/1985
  • View on MoAD website: See Collection record
  • Medium: Polyester/nylon; cotton
  • Dimensions: 710 (w) x 470 (h) x 200 (d) mm