Freedom Rides Down Under

February 15, 1965. Walgett, Australia. A group of about 30 Sydney students has traveled here on a fact-finding mission – a mission they’ll call a Freedom Ride, inspired by the efforts of Civil Rights activists in America. They’re here to document the unequal treatment of Aboriginal members in Walgett. But after being kicked out of town, their bus is run off the road, and the students brace themselves to face their attackers waiting in the night. How did the U.S. Civil Rights movement spark a wave of student activism on the other side of the world? And how did this dramatic confrontation help catapult this student protest to national importance, changing Australian society forever?

Thank you to our guests: Ann Curthoys, student Freedom Rider and Professor Emeritus at ANU; and ANU School of History Professor, Peter Read, author of “Charles Perkins: A Biography."

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