While Australia as a nation was celebrating 150 years of its youth, in Sydney where it all began, William Ferguson, Jack Pattern, Pearl Gibbs and William Cooper, all proud strong Aboriginal people, organised and led a march to acknowledge what they called an official 'Day of Mourning'.
It was an acknowledgment of the loss of life endured through foreign diseases (such as the smallpox virus that devastated Aboriginal people throughout Australia), active resistance through armed combat and massacres that were still frequent. It was also a protest over the previous 150 years of misery and degradation of Aboriginal people imposed by the white invaders to this country. The significance of this march is on two levels. Firstly, these brave people risked feeling the full consequences of their involvement from racist laws at the time. Secondly, the significant number of non-indigenous supporters who marched because they were aware of the problems affecting Aboriginal people, such as dispossession of lands and treatment by governments. Indeed, the number of non-Indigenous people participating far outweighed the Indigenous numbers, because of their goodwill and how they viewed with disgust the treatment of Aboriginal Australia.
Throughout this period there were many who petitioned not only the Australian Government to intervene, but also the British Government and Queen. The march concluded at the Australia Hall (recently known as the Cyprus Hellenic Club) with an Aboriginal-only public meeting. It was at this meeting that a manifesto entitled Aborigines Claim Citizen Rights' was distributed.