17 February 2015

  Freedom Ride 50th anniversary

This week, the NSW Aboriginal Land Council, the University of Sydney and the Charles Perkins Trust will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Rides, visiting communities in northern NSW. 

Original riders will join University of Sydney students on a bus to recreate the journey, visiting Dubbo on Wednesday, 18 February and continuing on to Walgett, Moree, Bowraville and Kempsey.

The 50th anniversary of the Freedom Ride is an opportunity for local communities to reflect on a pivotal moment in our history.

The Freedom Ride changed people's lives. We honour the determination and courage of not just the Freedom Riders, but also those community members who showed great courage themselves to fight for their rights. 

NSWALC recognises those in the community who actively participated in the Freedom Ride, often in the face of hostile local reaction.

The Freedom Riders and local communities made change happen. Their actions were instrumental in delivering the overwhelming yes vote in the 1967 referendum to change the Australian Constitution.

There is little doubt that the hard-fought gains brought about by the Freedom Ride was also one of several precursors to the notion of Land Rights for Aboriginal people and by extension - the passing of the NSW Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983.

These gains must be remembered and protected. We can't let others shape our destiny.

Late last year the NSW Government sought to strip away our right to claim coastal lands by rushing legislation through the Parliament.

We must recognise and acknowledge the Freedom Ride's legacy and to continue to stand up for our rights.

It's time for the present generation to get involved with their Land Council and stand up for Our Mob … Our Land Council … Our Future. 

The best way to do that is to join your Local Land Council.

For updates about the Freedom Ride 50th anniversary reenactment visit the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/freedomride50th