Tent Embassy established in 1972 to demand Aboriginal land rights
BACK TO MAIN SURVEILLANCE GALLERY
The original beach umbrella under which four men sat after PM William McMahon stated on January 26th 1972 that the Liberal Govt would never grant land rights to Aborigines. The men insisted they would stay until land rights were granted. So began the single most powerful political action in the struggle for justice by Aboriginal people.
ASIO shooting pictures from behind a hedge. Here amongst others are Sol Bellear, Chicka Dixon, Gary Williams and Paul Coe. ASIO was worried that the tent embassy was communicating with or being influenced by foreign Governments. ASIO files on the Embassy indicate instructions for officers to keep a watch for Soviet Embassy officials who might be visiting the site.
Until 1972 the only political party which supported justice and land rights for Aborigines was the Communist Party of Australia. Thus ASIO concluded that landrights could be a front for the world communist conspiracy
Interesting image from ASIO. Here you can see the two sides of the struggle. The young people on the left reflect the cultural revolution sweeping through western youth in the 1960s & 70s whilst the older man is dressed, collar and tie, even for a demonstration. This split was not just fashion but in the manner in which change ought to be brought about and many of the younger activists alienated some of their parent's generation with their demands for immediate change and the threat of using violence to confront violence.
John Newfong on the right was a writer, journalist and activist for justice who's early death was a blow for the movement. On the kleft is Michael Anderosn one of the founders of the Aboriginal tent embassy
'Mum' Shirl was a Persons Of Interest as was Kaye Bellear in what looks like a tennis dress.
Speech makers at the demonstration were all photographed. Here Bobbi Sykes speaks with Chicka Dixon to her right. Note that each of the people sitting facing the audience, the speech makers presumably, has a number. This indcates that they already have an ASIO intelligence file.
It looks like ASIO's budget didn't stretch to very big telephoto lenses so this is the best they got.
Paul Coe one of the founders of the Aboriginal Legal Service and one of the first Aborigines admitted as a lawyer speaks to the crowd.
Bruce McGuiness was a significant target for ASIO. He was a Maoist and as such was closely watched for eveidence of subversion.