Jack Patten was born and educated at Cumeroogunga. As a young man, he joined a highly politically conscious Aboriginal camp at Salt Pan Creek, Sydney, where he was surrounded by angry and assertive refugees from Aboriginal reserves on the state’s north and south coasts.

In January 1938, as the President of the Aborigines Progressive Association, he played a leading role in the Day of Mourning protest.

A year later, having made a long trip several months earlier along the north and south coasts of New South Wales to inform Aboriginal reserve communities about the government’s new plans for Aboriginal affairs and to share information about the oppressive conditions Aboriginal people were suffering throughout the state, he urged the people at Cumeroogunga to walk off the reserve in protest and joined forces with William Cooper and the Australian Aborigines’ League in calling for an inquiry into conditions there [hyperlink to relevant document in the Archive].

For more biographical information, see Jack Horner, ‘Patten, John Thomas (Jack) (1905–1957)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/patten-john-thomas-jack-7980/text13899, published first in hardcopy 1988