The town of Nanango, in the Australian outback, on Friday (July 6th) became the centre of a racial controversy involving Australia's only Aboriginal politician, Senator Neville Bonner.
SV INT Senator and wife arriving
SV PAN Debutantes applauding TILT TO Senator and wife and wife on stage
SV Debutantes curtsying to Senator (4 shots)
SV Newsmen taking photographs
SV PAN FROM Senator to couples on dance floor
Initials BB/2257 MR/TB/BB/2313
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Background: The town of Nanango, in the Australian outback, on Friday (July 6th) became the centre of a racial controversy involving Australia's only Aboriginal politician, Senator Neville Bonner.
Senator Bonner was asked to receive debutantes at Nanango. 200 miles North-west of Brisbane, but the parents of some of the girls protested. One mother said she did not want her daughter "bowing to a black man". Two girls, daughters of local graziers, withdrew from the function.
Police re-inforcements were sent to Nanango and deployed outside the dance hall, but there were no disturbances between the white and black residents.
Nine debutantes were presented to the Senator, and all curtsied in traditional fashion before him.
Aboriginal leaders at Cherbourg aboriginal settlement, near Nanango, were incensed at the snub to Senator Bonner and their race, caused by the withdrawal of the debutantes.
Senator Bonner told the crowd at the ball that Australians owed a lot to his forebears, the aborigines. He was loudly applauded throughout the ceremony.
SYNOPSIS: Racial controversy came to the Australian outback town of Nanango on Friday when local parents objected to their debutante daughters being presented to the country's only Aboriginal politician, Senator Neville Bonner. Parents of the debutantes taking part protested. One mother said she did not want her daughter "bowing to a black man". Then two girls withdrew from the debutante local dance hall where the annual ball was held. But none of the expected disturbances between black and white residents materialised.
Nine debutantes were formally presented to Senator Bonner, all of them curtsying in the traditional fashion. Senator Bonner, who is the only aborigine in the National Parliament, beamed with pleasure as the girls were presented to him.
The refusal of the farmers to let their daughters curtsy to a black man sparked off a racial controversy, but Senator Bonner commented, "I've seldom enjoyed myself as much."