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 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, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, an enclave within the city of Rome in Italy.
A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to proselytize 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 in North West England, with an estimated population of 491,500 within the Liverpool City Council local authority in 2017. Its 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-northwest. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies 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 server 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 Jules Chevalier 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 a Polynesian ethnic group native to 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 political powers, the culture and language remains one and 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. Popularly known as "the Alice" or simply "Alice", Alice Springs is situated roughly in Australia's geographic centre.
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 Arrernte people, sometimes referred to as the Aranda, Arunta, or Arrarnta are an Aboriginal Australian people who live in the Arrernte lands, at Mparntwe and surrounding areas of the Central Australia region of the Northern Territory. Some Aranda 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. In June 2017, Adelaide had an estimated resident population of 1,333,927. Adelaide is home to more than 75 percent of the South Australian population, making it the most centralised population of any state in Australia.
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 a village and a former municipality in the Celle district, in Lower Saxony, Germany. Since 1 January 2015 it is part of the municipality Südheide. It has been a state-recognised resort town since 1971. It is situated on the river Örtze, about 15 kilometres east of Bergen and 30 kilometres north of Celle. It belongs to the district of Celle.
Hermannsburg is an Aboriginal community in Ljirapinta Ward of the MacDonnell Shire in the Northern Territory of Australia, 125 km west southwest of Alice Springs. Local Aboriginal people call it Ntaria.
Theodor George Henry Strehlow was an anthropologist who studied the Arrernte Aboriginal Australians in Central Australia. He was considered a member of the Arrernte people, by dint of his ritual adoption by the tribe. He married twice, to Bertha James, in Prospect, South Australia, on 21 December 1935, with whom he had three children, Theo, Shirley and John, and to Kathleen Stuart in 1972, with whom he had a son, Carl.
A Tjurunga or as it is sometimes spelled, Churinga, is an object considered to be of religious significance by Central Australian indigenous people of the Arrernte groups. Tjurunga often had a wide and indeterminate native significance. They may be used variously in sacred ceremonies, as bullroarers, in sacred ground paintings, in ceremonial poles, in ceremonial headgear, in sacred chants and in sacred earth mounds.
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, and genealogist that served on two Lutheran missions in inland Australia from May 1892 to October 1922, a total of thirty years. He was at the first mission station, Killalpaninna, from 1892 to 1894, and the second, Hermannsburg, eighty miles west of Alice Springs, from 1894 to 1922, first as teacher and, from 1901 onwards, manager, and it is for his work here that he is mostly known today. Strehlow was ably assisted and supported by his wife Friederike Johanna Henriette Keysser, who played the central role in reducing the high infant mortality which threatened Aboriginal communities all over Australia after the onset of white settlement. It is probable that Hermannsburg was the only Mission in Australia at the start of the twentieth century where the population was growing through natural increase. As a polymath with an interest in natural history, through his Aranda informants Strehlow provided plant and animal specimens to museums in Germany and Australia, a number of which first came to scientific notice through his collecting. This was the outcome of his collaboration with Moritz, Baron von Leonhardi of Gross Karben in Hessen, Germany, who also suggested he write his monumental anthropological work Die Aranda- und Loritja-Stämme in Zentral-Australien. With Leonhardi as editor this work became the first publication of the newly founded Städtisches Völkermuseum of Frankfurt am Main, appearing in eight parts between 1907 and 1920. Strehlow sent what was said to be the best collection in the world of Aboriginal artefacts – both sacred and secular – to Frankfurt, unfortunately largely destroyed in the bombing of the city in World War Two, though some fine pieces remain. Due to Leonhardi's sudden death in 1910, Strehlow's linguistic researches intended as part of Die Aranda- und Loritja-Stämme were never published, though used in manuscript form by his son Theodor George Henry Strehlow and later Hermannsburg missionaries. Strehlow also collaborated on the pioneering first complete translation of the New Testament into an Aboriginal language (Dieri), published by the British and Foreign Bible Society in 1897, and he later translated the New Testament into Aranda, parts of which were published after his death. He also produced a reader and service book in the latter language. Falling ill with dropsy in September 1922, he tried to reach a doctor but died at Horseshoe Bend halfway between Alice Springs and Oodnadatta, leaving Frieda and fourteen-year-old son Theodor to continue south to Adelaide without him. Professor TGH Strehlow, who is better known than Carl, built his scholarly career in part on the researches carried out by his father.
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.
Arrernte or Aranda or more specifically Upper Arrernte, is a dialect cluster spoken in and around Alice Springs in the Northern Territory, Australia. The name is sometimes spelled Arunta or Arrarnta.
Charles Duguid was a Scottish-born medical practitioner and Aboriginal rights campaigner who recorded his experience working among the Australian Aborigines in a number of books.
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.
The Anmatyerre otherwise written Anmatjera, are an Indigenous Australian people of the Northern Territory.
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. It forms the primary road access to the community of Hermannsburg, as well as a number of tourist attractions located west of Alice Springs, including the Alice Springs Desert Park, West MacDonnell National Park, Kings Canyon, monuments dedicated to Aboriginal artist Albert Namatjira and Royal Flying Doctor Service founder John Flynn, as well as Albert Namatjira's house near Hermannsburg. Larapinta is the local Arrernte name for the Finke River a major watercourse in the area. The length of Larapinta Drive is marketed as part of the "Red Centre Way" tourist drive.
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.
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.