Uniya Jesuit Social Justice Centre was a small, Sydney-based centre for social justice and human rights research, advocacy, education and networking. The centre operated from 1989 until May 2007.
It was established by Father Frank Brennan SJ AO, who was the Director of the Centre until 1993 and again from 1996 to 2000. The centre was funded primarily by the Australian Jesuits.
According to its website "Uniya seeks to focus attention and influence Government policy and public opinion on key justice and human rights issues in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region. It draws guidance from the Gospel vision and the riches of Catholic Social Teaching. Uniya seeks to stand in solidarity with those on the margins of society."
During its heyday, Uniya focused much of its attention on the plight of refugees and asylum seekers, Indigenous reconciliation and Australia’s role in the Pacific and South East Asia.
Uniya mission at Daly River, NT
Uniya is named after the first Jesuit mission in Australia. The mission, also known as "Queen of the Holy Rosary" station, was established at Daly River, Northern Territory (NT) and operated from October 1886 to September 1889. It is known as "Uniya" because of its proximity to the Aboriginal site Wuniya. The name is said to be a local Aboriginal word meaning either "bend in the river" or "meeting place".
The mission was unique in its approach to Aboriginal people in the late 19th Century in that, unlike other Christian missions at the time, the Jesuits wanted to preserve the language and culture of the local people. Conversion to Christianity was only secondary to the protection of Aborigines from Western influence.
The original Uniya site is now a declared heritage place under the NT's Heritage Conservation Act 1991.
- Official Uniya website
- Frank Brennan, "A Retrospective on 15 Years at Uniya Working for Social Justice", 2004
- Northern Territory Government's Heritage Register - Uniya Station
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