David Unaipon
Australia Crest

Aboriginal preacher, writer and inventor.

David Unaipon

In 1909 he developed and patented a handpiece for shearing sheep. He also theorised on helicopter flight and the development of polarised light.

David features on the Australian $50 note with the words:I think I may claim to be the first - but I hope not the last - to provide an enduring record of our customs, beliefs and imaging".The imaging should have been imagining? Look at the note and see.

David Unaipon - $50 note
David Unaipon - $50 note

David Unaipon was born on September 28th, 1872, at Point McLeay Mission in South Australia.

He was a servant at the mission before learning boot-making. For a time he was a storeman for an Adelaide boot-maker.

Unaipon spent 50 years collecting subscriptions for the Aborigines' Friends' Association. He also lectured and published Aboriginal legends. From 1924 he wrote articles for the Sydney Daily Telegraph.

Unaipon assisted the Bleakley inquiry into Aboriginal welfare 1928-29.

In 1953 he received the Coronation medal.

There is a portrait of Unaipon in the South Australia Museum.

In 1988 the David Unaipon award for Aboriginal writers was established. In the same year the Unaipon lecture was established in Adelaide.

Unaipon died in 1967.

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