The Original Wave Hill Mob Letter of 1967 To: His Excellency The Right Hon. Lord Casey Governor-General of Australia 10 April, 1967 We, the leaders of the Gurindji people, write to you about our earnest desire to regain tenure of our tribal lands in the Wave Hill – Limbunya area of the Northern Territory, of […]
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 […]
‘No, we had enough with all you mob now, we bin working real hard with all you mob, but never get pay. We only bin work for tea, flour and sugar, and sick of tobacco, that’s all.’: Vincent Lingiari
I have today received a message from the Gurindji: 'Very sad we lost that old man, but good because now people all over Australia will be reminded of his great legacy and the great thing he did with our leader, Mr Lingiari. That old maluka'—old man—'understood our important role in land rights. We will meet today to plan how we will mourn him.'
In December 1961 an important meeting took place in the sand hills at Lee Point in Darwin that led to the formation of the Northern Territory Council for Aboriginal Rights. Its first President was Jacob Roberts and first Secretary Davis Daniels, two Roper River (now Ngukurr) men. Two well known Darwin members of the Communist Party Brian Manning and Terry Robertson were also elected as Assistant Secretary and Vice President respectively.
I’d only just purchased a brand new bloody Valiant Safari and I decided that I prefer to have a truck than a Safari because the coppers were giving me a bad time at the club. A Detective, who later became an Inspector, told me straight out “We aren’t gonna tolerate having a Communist running a place like this. We’ll have you out of here in 12 months.” The writing was on the wall so I swapped over and I bought the Bedford for the reserve price and I’ve had it ever since. We set out early the following morning and managed to get south of the Willeroo turnoff where we camped for the night. The road from Willeroo to Wave Hill was in the process of being rebuilt with a major upgrade under the Federal Government’s National Beef Road development scheme. We crawled along most of the way between 15 and 20 m.p.h.
Chips Mackinolty: "Katherine was isolating in those days. Unless you’d stayed in town for at least two wet seasons people would look at you as an outsider. And if you were crazy enough to do a third wet season they sort of thought, 'Well, he might be a lunatic but at least he is our lunatic.' "
Two years ago Kevin Rudd, in what appears to have now faded into a largely symbolic apology to Aboriginal Australia, told the nation that: …symbolism is important but, unless the great symbolism of reconciliation is accompanied by an even greater substance, it is little more than a clanging gong. It is not sentiment that makes […]