Australian Freedom Rides

Topics: Indigenous Australians, Charles N. Perkins, Constitution of Australia Pages: 2 (613 words) Published: October 6, 2012
Explain the significance of the Freedom Rides for Australia in the post-World War 2 period. The Australian Freedom Rides was not only significant but an extremely important historical event that occurred, that marginally affected the living standards, rights and the way our nation saw Aboriginal people. Starting through a very important Australian Aboriginal activists Charles Perkins, who was the first Aboriginal student to attend Sydney University, when he created SAFA in 1964. SAFA was a mixed gender university group consisting of both Christians and Communists, with all 30 students wanting justice for Aboriginal people. Using his passion and their commitment, Charles Perkins and the SAFA set off around country towns in NSW and Goondiwindi, Queensland. They were inspired by America’s Freedom Rides on civil rights of 1961 and planned to utilise the tactics of “passive non-violent action” proposed by Rev. Martin Luther King. Their purpose was to bring national attention to the living conditions of Australia’s Indigenous communities and to reveal unwritten laws that were enforced on them such as refusal to be served in shops, confined to separate sections of the cinemas, excluded from local swimming pools and banned from hotels, clubs and RSLs. In these towns the Freedom Riders found that racism was plentiful and widespread by conducting surveys on Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples on their opinions and living conditions in their area. Although the whole trip was highly publicised, two significant forms of racism and unwritten laws stood out in the towns of Moree and Walgett. The problem in Walgett was that the Freedom Riders were enraged by the fact that Indigenous ex-service personal were not allowed in the local RSL even though they served in World War 2 just as much as any other non-Indigenous person. This demonstration that occurred led to conflict between the SAFA and local residents. In Moree the Freedom Riders protested outside of a public swimming...
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