In 1984 he was awarded the title Officer of the Order of Australia. A selection of photographs — including those listed below — has been digitised and can be viewed on PhotoSearch. He was called Australian of the entire year in 1979 and in 1998 he was elected towards the Constitutional Convention as an applicant of Australians to get a Constitutional Monarchy. Like many Indigenous children of his age he had little formal schooling, leaving after he had attained the third grade at the age of fifteen. However he was a respected commentator on Indigenous issues and served on numerous Senate and Parliamentary Committees. He never knew his father and had almost no formal education. Bonner had a limited education and worked in labouring jobs.
Bonner was almost unique in being an Aboriginal activist and a political conservative: in fact he owed his political career to this fact. The Queensland federal electorate of is named in his honour. She died young and he was brought up by his grandparents, in some poverty but not ignorance; for all the lack of formal schooling, perhaps engendered by a white-kids' walkout when he and his brother and sister turned up for class, his grandfather was an actor, his grandmother a martinet for the proper use of English. In 1971 he became the first Aboriginal person to sit in the Commonwealth parliament when he was chosen to fill a vacancy in the Senate caused by the resignation of a Liberal senator for Queensland. He was appointed by the to fill a vacancy in the. He was never a serious candidate for promotion to the ministry.
Bonner was an elder of the Jagera people. The Coalition parties, in fact, lost that poll to Bob Hawke's Labor Party. Its value lay in alerting politicians to practices that led to the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. He later became the first Indigenous Australian to be elected to the parliament. Their first son, Patrick, was born there. After Patrick became seriously ill, Mona believed that a return to Palm Island would be best for family life. In fact, there is some suggestion that he had then been of, if not in, the Liberal camp for six years or so.
He died at Ipswich in 1999, aged 76. He narrowly missed retaining his seat. He was subsequently returned at elections held in 1972, 1974, 1975 and 1980. He worked on a farm, and in 1946 moved to , near. Biography Bonner was born at Ukerebagh Island, in the Tweed River in northern.
Given Hayden's quirky humour, the fact that Labor and Liberal parties for once were on the same side and it was an all-hands-to-the pump situation this might not have been a serious situation. Placed third on a joint Liberal—Country Party ticket, he was unsuccessful. Bonner left the Senate at the end of his term amid a plethora of fine phrases, most of which doubtless were sincere. On 2 March 1970 Bonner was nominated by the Queensland Liberal Party for preselection for the half-Senate election later that year. He detested apartheid, yet firmly defended the right of the Springboks to tour Australia in 1971. Neville Bonner passed away in February 1999 in Ipswich, and was accorded a State Funeral. During this time Neville witnessed frequent acts of violence by Randell against his mother.
He stood as an and was nearly successful. He rose to the position of assistant settlement overseer on Palm Island. In 1979 Bonner was jointly named along with naturalist Harry Butler. At the time he was born, he was not recognised as an Australian citizen, but he would eventually become known as the first Aboriginal person to enter federal politics, paving the way and opening the doors for other Indigenous politicians. Though Neville was one of the few men allowed to take seasonal work on the mainland, as a canecutter around Ingham, it was on Palm Island that he was appointed a native policeman, advancing to the position of assistant works overseer with responsibility for about 300 people.
That he could balance his loyalty to his state and the party that had brought him to Canberra with his undoubted commitment to and love of his people was no mean achievement. In 1998 he was elected to Constitutional Convention as a candidate of Australians for a Constitutional Monarchy. He was born on an island in the Tweed River in northern New South Wales. He worked on a farm, and in 1946 moved to , near. Neville was the second son of Henry Kenneth Bonner, an English migrant, and his wife Julia, the daughter of Ida, née Sandy, and Roger Bell. In 1970 he sought Liberal preselection for the Senate and was given the unwinnable third place on the ticket.
This would only last for about a year, due largely to the costs involved in sourcing wood fit for the purpose. He was elected in his own right in 1972, 1974, 1975 and 1980. Heather survived him, as did four of the five children of his first marriage and two foster daughters. Bonner was convinced little would change for Indigenous Australians unless they were represented in parliament. No mean feat given the times in which he lived, and the fellow politicians he had to contend against.
He died on 5 February 1999 at Ipswich. But when, a year later, Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin was named High Commissioner to New Zealand, he demanded the vacancy. This was the only formal education he ever received. Bonner's attitudes to race and related issues were always complex. As his political career burgeoned he was easily re-elected in 1972 and in 1980 was given top place on the Liberal ticket he became increasingly critical of Joh Bjelke-Petersen's state Government on Aboriginal land rights, and of Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser's apparent accommodation of them.