The Depression cut short Faith's schooling, although she went to Cleveland Street night school in Sydney after the war. Yet Bandler and Street began in 1957, with Pearl Gibbs, an Aboriginal leader, and others, a campaign for a national referendum to alter the Constitution so that the Australian government had powers over Aboriginal affairs previously held by the states. Hans Bandler, whose work included as a design engineer on the Warragamba dam, died in 2009. Faith's father, who had become Peter Mussing, a lay preacher and worked on a banana plantation outside Murwillumbah, died when she was only five but he had taught his children to be independent. She once said that, if her time were limited, she would like to reach out to the heroes she knew, such as Nelson Mandela, Jessie Street and Paul Robeson, whom she greeted at Sydney Airport in 1960. The 1967 referendum was a triumph for Bandler and her campaigning colleagues. He and Faith married in 1952, after her return from the 1951 Berlin Youth Festival in East Berlin.

Faith Bandler helped change a nation's views on human rights and social justice. Bandler did not get hers back for 10 years and she lost her dressmaking job at David Jones.

Her legacy lives on in our journey toward the constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Faith Mussing had met Hans Bandler, a design engineer, in 1950, at an Australian Peace Council musical evening, where she was a speaker and he screened documentaries about Aboriginal culture. When she showed the singer a film about the Aboriginal people, tears rolled down his cheeks.

Last modified on Tue 13 Mar 2018 17.35 GMT. Educated at Murwillumbah and Cleveland Street Night School in Sydney, Faith married Hans Bandler in 1952, and became involved in indigenous politics as co-founder of the Aboriginal-Australian Fellowship in 1956. Afterwards she became a seamstress, joined the cosmopolitan world of Kings Cross, met people of the Left, including poet Dame Mary Gilmore and writer Len Fox, and developed a long and close relationship with Karl Schultz, a Finnish seaman who jumped ship and encouraged her interest in politics. The ‘67 Referendum poses two questions: the first seeks to alter the balance of numbers in the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Bandler was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) on 11 June 1984, in recognition of her service to Aboriginal welfare and was invested as a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) in 2009. January 27, 2016. She worked for Aboriginal education and housing, was a founding member of the Women's Electoral Lobby and the Australian Republican Movement, campaigned for the rights of South Sea Islanders and wrote six books, including Wacvie (1977), a biographical novel about her father.

A leader (1958-73) of the Federal Council for Aboriginal Advancement (later the Federal Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders), she campaigned tirelessly for the ‘yes’ vote in the Commonwealth referendum in 1967 for the inclusion of Aboriginal people in the census.

August 1999, Woollongong, Australia. Faith Bandler in 1971, four years after the successful 1967 referendum. Discriminatory sections were cut from the constitution and the Commonwealth gained power to legislate for indigenous people. One regret of her life was having lost touch with Peter, an Aboriginal boy the Bandlers fostered after he was abandoned in a park north of Armidale.

Australian Associated Press. She was named as a national living treasure and receiving the Order of Australia. Indigenous activist Faith Bandler in 2009 when she was appointed a companion (AC) of the Order of Australia. All rights reserved.

Her other awards included an honorary doctorate of letters from Macquarie University and a Sydney Peace Foundation award, presented by Mandela.

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