This is a guest post by Chips Mackinolty, an artist and journalist based in Palermo and Darwin. On 9 August 1974, eight years almost to the day after the famous Wave Hill Walk Off, a group of largely Mangarrayi speaking families walked off Elsey Station. Yes, the place of the colonialist pastoral fantasy of We […]
Comments like those made recently by our Prime Minister only serve to empower the ugly side of our society. For what it’s worth, I don’t think Mr Abbott was deliberately being racist, but one comment from someone in such a powerful position can cause so much damage.
In the north of Western Australia in May 1946, an estimated 600 Aboriginal stockmen went on strike until they had been guaranteed a minimum wage of thirty shillings per week. Some had previously been receiving food and clothing but no pay; others had been paid up to twelve shillings a week. Though the strike was on the face of it, for better wages, it also had a strong human rights and natural justice aspect, with the demand that Aboriginal workers be paid in cash and not in goods. This strike was organised by an Aboriginal man, Dooley Bin Bin with his friend Don McLeod acting as consultant. The organisation was a mammoth task, requiring communication between stockmen throughout northern Western Australia. The strike did not end until August 1949.