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Written on 10/18/2022
Robert Williams

The ANA was a curious organisation with a title misleading its intention. The organisation was formed to support and promote white, male Australians who were born in Australia (thus natives). It played a key part in moving to Federation as well as maintaining the ‘white Australia policy’. In London during the First World War it devoted its efforts to supporting ANZAC soldiers as well as its usual role of promoting Australian settler culture.

The programme of the first annual Corroboree details a wide range of entertainments including dancing and a prize for the best dressed table. The cover design was drawn by Tom Roberts – yes the Tom Roberts – who spent the First World War in London volunteering at a hospital. The programme states:

“Refreshments will be available at 8.00 p.m. by the Lady Helpers at the Anzac Buffet, under the direction of the superintendent, Mrs Rattigan.”

From First Annual Corroboree program, Australian War Memorial - here

In summary the programme makes the following claim:

"Altogether, the Australian Natives Association, has justified its existence in London, and on this, the first anniversary of its natal day, extends the glad hand to all its friends, at the same time issuing a loud “Coo-ee” to those qualified to come along and join up.”