Prior to the freedom rides indigenous people were mistreated and weren’t considered to be first class citizens of Australia. However, when people became aware of the mistreatment, they started to protest in many places in New South Wales, this was known as the freedom rides. This movement was led by Charles Perkins, who was one of the first indigenous people to attend university.
The mistreatment of indigenous people started when the European’s took over Australia, and escalated over time. They were considered to be second class citizens. By the time of federation, in 1901, aboriginal people were not included in the constitution or the census and were excluded from society which was known as protectionism. The white Australians believed that they were helping the Aborigines by using the protection policies. But in reality these policies isolated them from their families, traditional land and removed them from their natural heritage and culture. The Aborigines were taught to live like the white Australians so the could assimilate into the white society and were often trained to be slaves for White People. Charles Perkins was an aborigine who like many was taken from his family and land. He was however treated well compared to what most Indigenous Australians faced when taken under the protection policies.
In 1965, over thirty Sydney University students, led by Charles Perkins and Gary Williams, represented Student Action For Aborigines (SAFA) and travelled in a bus all over north and west of New South Wales. This was called the Freedom Ride, and the students became well known as the ‘Freedom Riders’. The aim of the freedom riders was to highlight the racism portrayed in the ‘White Australia Policy’ which was brought into effect during Federation by Sir Edmund Barton. The policy meant that the Aborigines were banned, or in some cases separated from whites, in shops, cinemas, hotels and clubs and public swimming pools. The freedom riders were verbally and...
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