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Apchol landrights demonstration Spring St. Melbourne July 12th 1968 length 20'45"

Category: ASIO Surveillance Films

Demonstration supporting Aboriginal land rights outside ParliamentHouse in Melburne , July 12 1968.  The strike on Wave Hill station in the Northern Territory was underway and you can see a number of placards in the crowd supporting the Gurindji people in their struggle against Vestey's cattle business which ran the station on Gurindji land.  The crowd is largely white and young.  You can see banners representing the Maoists from Monash university (Monash Labour Club), Frank Hardy who had helped bring news of the Gurindji struggle to the mainstream can bee seen smoking a pipe and one of the few black faces is Harry Penrith who addresses the crowd late in the film.  He later became well known as Burnham Burnham.  

ASIO regarded the struggle for landrights as a front for world communism.  This was based on the edicted which came from the Internationale in the U.S.S.R in the late 1920s that communist parties around the world had the obligation to help indigenous people to win land rights and social justice.  Consequently the communist party of Australia supported land rights and until they early 1970s they were the only political party to do so.  This made the landrights movement a target for ASIO.  

The film was shot from a room in the venerable Windsor Hotel across the road.  ASIO regularly enlisted neighbours and businesses to set up obnservation posts.