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1966: Gurindji strike or Wave Hill Walk-off, beginning the longest strike in Australian history

23 August All day

On this day in 1966 the Gurindji walked off Wave Hill Station. What began as a strike over the refusal of Vestey Brothers to pay Aboriginal workers was to become a pivotal event in the struggle for the legal recognition of Aboriginal land rights.

As the National Museum of Australia explains:

“The Gurindji strike was instrumental in heightening the understanding of Indigenous land ownership in Australia and was a catalyst for the passing of the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976, the first legislation allowing for a claim of title if the Indigenous claimants could provide evidence for their traditional relationship to the land.”

Wave Hill Walk-Off, National Museum of Australia

On 16 August 1975 the deeds for part of Wave Hill Station were presented to Gurindji leader Vincent Lingiari by Prime Minister Gough Whitlam.