Fifty years ago this August, about 200 Gurindji stockmen and homestead workers on the remote Wave Hill Station stopped work in their fight for fair wages. The Gurindji people, who were also sick of not having a place to call home on the land that had been theirs for hundreds, even thousands, of generations, were determined to make a stand. In 1967 the Gurindji walked away from Wave Hill Station to set up home at Daguragu (known as Wattie Creek ) – a special place for their people.
‘This bin Gurindji country long time before them Vestey mob.’
Vincent Lingiari, Gurindji elder
Their stopwork and walk-off sparked a national debate about Aboriginal rights and especially Aboriginal land rights.
In 1975, after a nine year stopwork, the Whitlam Labor government handed back a portion of their land to the Gurindji people – 3300 square kilometres of the area around Daguragu (Wattie Creek ).
This August, the Gurindji people will be joined by many friends to celebrate 50 years since the stopwork. The celebration is called Freedom Day Festival (see www.freedomday50.com.au).
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that this resource may contain images and voices of people who have died.