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Patten, Jack (1904 - 1957)



Jack Patten was born in Cummeroogunja and settled at La Perouse in 1928. Unlike many Aboriginal people at the time, Patten attended high school and became an experienced organiser and public speaker, speaking regularly on Aboriginal rights at the Domain on Sunday afternoons, along with other Aboriginal activists like Pearl Gibbs and Tom Foster. Patten had learned his politics in the Aboriginal squatters camp at Slat Pan Creek in the late 1930s.

In 1937 Patten and William Ferguson published a manifesto "Aborigines Claim Citizenship Rights", organised the 1938 Day of Mourning Protest and led an APA delegation to meet the Prime Minister. The same year he published one of the earliest Aboriginal newspapers, the Abo Call and in February 1939 was arrested at Cummeragunja when he made a speech that led to 300 Aboriginal people walking off the station.

In 1940 he joined the army and served throughout the war. In 1952 he moved to Melbourne where he was killed in a road accident in October 1957.

See Jack Horner, 'Patten, John Thomas (1905 - 1957)', Australian Dictionary of Biography Online.