It is the London winter of 1928. Fog blankets the city.
Pedestrians and commuters along one of the city’s busiest thoroughfares are arrested at the spectacle directly outside the Edwardian baroque marble facade of Australia House on the corner of the Strand and Aldwych.
They see an elderly, longhaired, Australian Aboriginal man. He is dressed in a black greatcoat. The only contrast to his dark appearance is a full, silver beard and a cape upon which are attached dozens of small white rubber skeletons. He also wears a sandwich board placard of the type used by street vendors, all across the city, to advertise their wares.
But this old man, Anthony Martin Fernando, a toymaker by trade, is not advertising his products. Instead, his placard condemns the appalling treatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in colonial and newly federated Australia.
Fernando repeatedly points to the little skeletons and cries out to passers-by: “This is all that Australia has left of my people.”
Fernando was also a regular speaker at London’s Hyde Park Corner during the 1930s.by