Thomas Sidney Dixon (1916 — 1993) was a Catholic Missionary known for his work with Indigenous peoples. Father Dixon took up the cause of Rupert Max Stuart, an Arrernte Aboriginal convicted of murder in 1959.
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2017. As the world's oldest and largest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope. Its central administration is the Holy See.
A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to promote their faith or perform ministries of service, such as education, literacy, social justice, health care, and economic development. The word "mission" originates from 1598 when the Jesuits sent members abroad, derived from the Latin missionem, meaning "act of sending" or mittere, meaning "to send". The word was used in light of its biblical usage; in the Latin translation of the Bible, Christ uses the word when sending the disciples to preach The gospel in his name. The term is most commonly used for Christian missions, but can be used for any creed or ideology.
Rupert Maxwell (Max) Stuart was an Indigenous Australian who was convicted of murder in 1959. His conviction was subject to several appeals to higher courts, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, and a Royal Commission, all of which upheld the verdict. Newspapers campaigned successfully against the death penalty being imposed. After serving his sentence, Stuart became an Arrernte elder and from 1998 till 2001 was the chairman of the Central Land Council. In 2002, a film was made about the Stuart case.
Thomas Dixon was born in Sydney, the 15th of 18 children born to Irish/English parents who had immigrated from Liverpool in England two years earlier.
Sydney is the state capital of New South Wales and the most populous city in Australia and Oceania. Located on Australia's east coast, the metropolis surrounds Port Jackson and extends about 70 km (43.5 mi) on its periphery towards the Blue Mountains to the west, Hawkesbury to the north, the Royal National Park to the south and Macarthur to the south-west. Sydney is made up of 658 suburbs, 40 local government areas and 15 contiguous regions. Residents of the city are known as "Sydneysiders". As of June 2017, Sydney's estimated metropolitan population was 5,230,330 and is home to approximately 65% of the state's population.
Liverpool is a city and metropolitan borough in North West England, with an estimated population of 491,500 within the borough. The city's metropolitan area is the fifth-largest in the UK, with a population of 2.24 million in 2011. The local authority is Liverpool City Council, the most populous local government district in the metropolitan county of Merseyside and the largest in the Liverpool City Region.
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.
Dixon was schooled by nuns before entering Christian Brothers College. At the age of 12 he entered a seminary of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart where he eventually took his vows. In November 1941, he was appointed to run a mission in Rabaul in East New Britain. However, while en route Pearl Harbour was attacked and he was instead asked to travel to Palm Island, 65 km (40 mi) north-west of Townsville, on the east coast of Queensland to relieve an ill priest for three months. Dixon remained on the Island for seven years teaching.
Christian Brothers College, Burwood was a Catholic high school located in Burwood, Sydney Australia.
Seminary, school of theology, theological seminary, and divinity school are educational institutions for educating students in scripture, theology, generally to prepare them for ordination to serve as clergy, in academics, or in Christian ministry. The English word is taken from the Latin seminarium, translated as seed-bed, an image taken from the Council of Trent document Cum adolescentium aetas which called for the first modern seminaries. In the West, the term now refers to Catholic educational institutes and has widened to include other Christian denominations and American Jewish institutions.
The Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus are a missionary congregation in the Catholic Church. It was founded in 1854 by Servant of God Jules Chevalier(1824-1907) at Issoudun, France, in the Diocese of Bourges.
In 1949, Dixon transferred to Toowoomba, Queensland where he taught English, French and Algebra at a Catholic school. At the end of the year he was appointed to the Thursday Island mission that also served Hammond Island. Here he taught the local population which was a mix of Australian Aboriginals, Papuans, Samoans, Filipinos, Malays and Sinhalese. On Hammond Island Dixon designed and built a mortarless stone church with stained glass windows made from beer bottles.
Algebra is one of the broad parts of mathematics, together with number theory, geometry and analysis. In its most general form, algebra is the study of mathematical symbols and the rules for manipulating these symbols; it is a unifying thread of almost all of mathematics. It includes everything from elementary equation solving to the study of abstractions such as groups, rings, and fields. The more basic parts of algebra are called elementary algebra; the more abstract parts are called abstract algebra or modern algebra. Elementary algebra is generally considered to be essential for any study of mathematics, science, or engineering, as well as such applications as medicine and economics. Abstract algebra is a major area in advanced mathematics, studied primarily by professional mathematicians.
Hammond Island is an island with a town of the same name, in the Torres Strait, Queensland, Australia, within the local government area of Torres Strait Island Region.
Samoans or Samoan people are the indigenous Polynesian people of the Samoan Islands, an archipelago in Polynesia, who speak the Samoan language. The group's home islands are politically and geographically divided between the Independent State of Samoa and American Samoa, an unincorporated territory of the United States of America. Though divided by government, the culture and language remain the same.
In 1954 Dixon was reassigned to a mission that M.S.C. had founded near Alice Springs, Santa Teresa (now Ltyentye Apurte Community). Founded to service the Arrernte Aboriginals, nuns ran the mission school and clinic while lay brothers worked as handymen. Dixon was responsible for the church and learnt to speak Arrernte in order to preach to them in their own language. He introduced not only Mass to local Aboriginals but also the Cabbage to their diet. The indigenous women and children were largely permanent residents at the mission while most of the men moved around following seasonal work. Almost all the children and many of the women were baptised as Catholics however, the men tended to be baptised Lutherans as they were more accustomed to attending the Hermannsburg Lutheran mission, 160 km (99 mi) east of Santa Teresa.
Alice Springs is the third-largest town in the Northern Territory of Australia. Known as Stuart until 31 August 1933, the name Alice Springs was given by surveyor William Whitfield Mills after Alice, Lady Todd, wife of the telegraph pioneer Sir Charles Todd. Now colloquially known as The Alice or simply Alice, the town is situated roughly in Australia's geographic centre. It is nearly equidistant from Adelaide and Darwin.
The Ltyentye Apurte Community, also known as Santa Teresa, is an Arrernte indigenous community in the Northern Territory, Australia, located about 80 kilometres (50 mi) south-east of Alice Springs. .
The Arrerntepeople, sometimes referred to as the Aranda, Arunta or Arrarnta, are a group of Aboriginal Australian peoples who live in the Arrernte lands, at Mparntwe and surrounding areas of the Central Australia region of the Northern Territory. Many still speak one of the various Arrernte dialects. Some Arrernte live in other areas far from their homeland, including the major Australian cities and overseas.
As many of the Aboriginals lived in huts made from corrugated iron, Dixon organised the local men to build houses to replace them. Local stone was chipped by hand with the locals given rations while they worked on their own home with an additional cash allowance when they worked on some one else's. Within two years every family lived in a stone house.
In 1956, Dixon moved to Adelaide where he was appointed as Curate for the Hindmarsh Parish that M.S.C. had begun after receiving permission from the Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide.
Adelaide is the capital city of the state of South Australia, and the fifth-most populous city of Australia. The demonym Adelaidean is used to denote the city and its residents.
A curate is a person who is invested with the care or cure (cura) of souls of a parish. In this sense, "curate" correctly means a parish priest; but in English-speaking countries the term curate is commonly used to describe clergy who are assistants to the parish priest. The duties or office of a curate are called a curacy.
Hindmarsh is an inner suburb of Adelaide, South Australia. It is located in the City of Charles Sturt.
In 1959 Rupert Max Stuart was on death row awaiting execution for the murder of Mary Hattam. Stuart had already visited with a Salvation Army officer and a Lutheran pastor when Father John O’Loughlin, the Adelaide Goal's junior Catholic Chaplain met him. Stuart was not very communicative due to his limited English and O’Loughlin mentioned this to his friend, Father Tom Dixon who lived in a presbytery in nearby Hindmarsh. As he could speak Stuart's native language, Dixon decided to visit and help prepare Stuart for death.
Stuart insisted he had not killed the girl and Dixon initially suspected he was looking for sympathy. By 14 May the execution was eight days away and Dixon had become convinced that Stuart was telling the truth. He contacted J. D. O'Sullivan, Stuart's solicitor who gave him a copy of Stuart's confession. After reading it, he concluded that Stuart could not have dictated it. Dixon had read a book on Arrernte grammar written by T.G.H. Strehlow and asked him to check Stuart's language for comparison with the confession.Strehlow had been born at the Hermannsburg Lutheran mission where his father was the pastor and had spoken Arrente before being taught English. As it turned out, Strehlow had grown up with Stuart and knew his parents well. Strehlow visited Stuart on 18 May, and for the first time his alibi was heard in English after being translated. On the matter of the police confession, Strehlow wrote:
"In my ten years of varied experience of evidence given by Aboriginals, part Aboriginals, police officers and white residents of the Northern Territory, I had never seen a document even faintly resembling the one I was now looking at. Far from bearing any resemblance to any statement ever made by an Aboriginal or part Aboriginal person....(the document) could have been composed only by some person who was well versed in legal procedure and in the practice of giving court evidence."
On 20 May Stuart applied for leave to appeal to the High Court based on Strehlow's findings and Justice Reed granted a stay of execution with a new date of 19 June set. On 18 June a further extension to 7 July was granted to allow time for a decision, which was handed down on 19 June. Leave to appeal was denied.
On 22 June Dixon contacted Dr. Charles Duguid, who ran the Aborigines’ Advancement League, to discuss Stuart's situation. On 27 June a meeting of the League, university teachers, clergymen and representatives of the Howard League for Penal Reform was held in Duguid's Magill home where Dixon and Strehlow gave a talk. It was decided to mount a campaign to keep Stuart alive and the distribution of petitions for commutation were arranged.
Albert Namatjira, born Elea Namatjira, was a Western Arrernte-speaking Aboriginal artist from the MacDonnell Ranges in Central Australia. As a pioneer of contemporary Indigenous Australian art, he was the most famous Indigenous Australian of his generation.
Hermannsburg is an Aboriginal community in Ljirapinta Ward of the MacDonnell Shire in the Northern Territory of Australia, 125 kilometres (78 mi); west southwest of Alice Springs. Local Aboriginal people call it Ntaria. Established as a Lutheran Aboriginal mission in 1877, linguist and anthropologist Carl Strehlow documented the local Western Arrernte language during his time there. The land was handed over to traditional ownership in 1982 under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act, and the area is now heritage-listed.
Theodor George Henry Strehlow, known as Ted Strehlow, was an anthropologist who studied the Arrernte Aboriginal Australians and their language in Central Australia.
There are several hundred Indigenous peoples of Australia; many are groupings that existed before the British colonisation of Australia in 1788. Within each country, people lived in clan groups: extended families defined by various forms of Australian Aboriginal kinship. Inter-clan contact was common, as was inter-country contact, but there were strict protocols around this contact.
Carl Friedrich Theodor Strehlow was an anthropologist, linguist and genealogist who served on two Lutheran missions in remote parts of Australia from May 1892 to October 1922. He was at Killalpaninna Mission in northern South Australia, from 1892 to 1894, and then Hermannsburg, 80 miles (130 km) west of Alice Springs, from 1894 to 1922. Strehlow was assisted by his wife Friederike, who played a central role in reducing the high infant mortality which threatened Aboriginal communities all over Australia after the onset of white settlement.
The Hermannsburg School is an art movement, or art style, which began at the Hermannsburg Mission in the 1930s. The best known artist of the style is Albert Namatjira. The movement is characterised by watercolours of western-style landscapes that depict the often striking colours of the Australian outback.
Diyari or Dieri is an Australian Aboriginal language spoken by the Diyari people in the far north of South Australia, to the east of Lake Eyre. It was studied by German Lutheran missionaries who translated Christian works into the language in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, so that it developed an extensive written form. Only a few fluent speakers of Diyari remained by the early 21st century, but a dictionary and grammar of the language was produced by linguist Peter K. Austin, and there is a project under way to teach it in schools.
Arrernte or Aranda or sometimes referred to as Upper Arrernte, is a dialect cluster in the Arandic language group spoken in parts of the Northern Territory, Australia, by the Arrernte people. Other spelling variations are Arunta or Arrarnta, and all of the dialects have multiple other names.
Charles Duguid was a Scottish-born medical practitioner, social reformer, Presbyterian lay leader and Aboriginal rights campaigner who lived in Adelaide, South Australia for most of his adult life, and recorded his experience working among the Aboriginal Australians in a number of books. He founded the Ernabella mission station in the far north of South Australia. The Pitjantjatjara people gave him the honorific Tjilpi, meaning "respected old man". He and his wife Phyllis Duguid, also an Aboriginal rights campaigner as well as women's rights activist, led much of the work on improving the lives of Aborigines in South Australia in the mid-twentieth century.
Kaltukatjara is a remote Indigenous Australian community in the Northern Territory of Australia. It is southwest of Alice Springs, west of the Stuart Highway, near the Western Australia and Northern Territory border. At the 2006 census, Kaltukatjara had a population of 355.
Reginald Ernest Battarbee was an Australian artist notable for painting landscapes of Central Australia, and for teaching Aboriginal artist Albert Namatjira to paint.
Georg Ludwig Detlef Theodor Harms (1808–1865) was a German Lutheran pastor who was nicknamed the "Reviver of the Heath". One of the most significant Christian revivalists of the 19th century, he turned the little village of Hermannsburg on the Lüneburg Heath into the most important centre of revival in Lower Saxony.
Larapinta Drive is a designated state route in the Northern Territory of Australia.
Friederike Johanna Henriette Strehlow née Keysser better known as Frieda Strehlow, was a German missionary who lived and worked at Hermannsburg in the Northern Territory of Australia in the early 1900s. She was best known for overcoming the high rate of infant mortality for Aboriginal children.
The Loritja or Luritja people, also known as Kukatja, are an Indigenous Australian people of the Northern Territory. Their traditional lands are immediately west of the Derwent River, that forms a frontier with the Arrernte people, with their lands covering some 10,300 square miles (27,000 km2). Their language is the Luritja dialect, a Western Desert language.
Christian Gottlieb Teichelmann was a Lutheran missionary, who worked among the Australian aborigines, and was a pioneer in describing Australian languages.
Clamor Wilhelm Schürmann was a Lutheran missionary who emigrated to Australia and did fundamental pioneering work, together with his colleague Christian Gottlieb Teichelmann, on recording some Australian languages in South Australia.
Erlikilyika (c.1865–c.1930), known to Europeans by the name Jim Kite or Jim Kyte or Jim Kite Penangke, was an Aboriginal Australian sculptor, artist and anthropological interpreter. He was an Arrernte man, born into the Southern Arrernte or Pertame language group in Central Australia. He was the first Central Australian artist to be nationally recognised for his artistic talent, in particular his carvings of animals in soft stone, illustrations and sculptures, after an exhibition of his work was held in Adelaide, South Australia in 1913.