A Scottish Inheritance? Mary Bennett, the Aboriginal Cause and the Legacies of the Past

Alison Holland


Mary Montgomerie Bennett (1881–1961) was a leading twentieth century advocate for Aboriginal human rights. Her advocacy has been explored in the context of Christian reformism, feminism and humanitarianism. In this paper, I look towards her Scottish origins—and her family—as a way of exploring her extraordinary commitment to this cause. While mapping out the terrain of her advocacy I show how her family story is crucial, including its Scottish roots, and argue that her Scottish inheritance is evident in her attitudes on the question of ‘race’ and racial justice, as well as her teaching of Indigenous students and her unswerving faith.

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