The One People of Australia League (OPAL) was established in 1961 in Queensland to advance Aboriginal issues. It ran institutions in Queensland that housed children, and also organised seaside holiday camps for children. The OPAL Centre opened in Brisbane in 1971 as a support service and social meeting place for Aboriginal people.
OPAL published a quarterly journal from 1966-1975.
OPAL also ran annual seaside holiday camps in the mid 1960s, at the Methodist Youth Centre at Margate, near Brisbane. In 1966, the Church Chronicle reported on the OPAL holiday camp.
The children come from all over the State, from north to south, from west to east. Some even spilled over from La Perouse [in New South Wales]. The leaders are mainly High School, University and Teacher-trainee students … Some very valuable leaders come from the Foundation for Aboriginal Affairs in Sydney' (1 November 1966, press clipping in John Johnston collection, Anglican Records and Archives Centre).
By 1975 the League's goals had changed from assimilation to promoting cooperation and understanding between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities.
According to the website 'Collaborating for Indigenous Rights':
OPAL was critical of overt political activism, preferring instead to liaise with the Queensland government - from whom it received large monetary grants - and those Indigenous people in need of housing, education or welfare assistance. Thus it was difficult for OPAL to criticise the activities of the Queensland government. Neville Bonner, Australia's first Indigenous senator, was president of OPAL from 1968 to 1975.
Sources used to compile this entry: Horton, David and Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, Encyclopedia of Aboriginal Australia, vol. 2 of 2, Aboriginal Studies Press for the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, Canberra, 1994, 1340 pp; 'One People of Australia League', in Collaborating for Indigenous Rights, National Museum of Australia, https://www.nma.gov.au/explore/features/indigenous-rights/organisations; 'SYDNEY REPRESENTED AT 0.P.A.L'S BRISBANE CAMP ', Dawn, January-March 1966, courtesy of AIATSIS.
Prepared by: Rosemary Francis & Cate O'Neill
Created: 22 June 2011, Last modified: 14 December 2018