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1965: Freedom Ride in Australia Begins

12 February 2022 All day

A group of Sydney University students organised a bus tour through western and coastal New South Wales towns in 1965. As the National Museum of Australia website explains:

Their purpose was threefold. The students planned to draw public attention to the poor state of Aboriginal health, education and housing. They hoped to point out and help to lessen the socially discriminatory barriers which existed between Aboriginal and white residents. And they also wished to encourage and support Aboriginal people themselves to resist discrimination. The students had formed into a body called Student Action for Aborigines (SAFA) in 1964 to plan this trip and ensure media coverage.

Charles Perkins, an Arrente man born in Alice Springs, who was a third year arts student at the university, was elected president of SAFA. The group included Ann Curthoys who would later write a history of these events, Jim Spigelman who would later become Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales and Darce Cassidy, an arts student who was also a part-time reporter for the ABC.