Unpublished Freedom Ride photos on show

Friday, 28 August 2015

When the Tribune’s entire archive of 60,000 negatives was donated to the State Library of NSW 23 years ago, it was not known at the time that it held over 100 unpublished photos documenting the 1965 Freedom Ride!

The State Library of NSW will present together for the first time this extraordinary collection of images which document how the milestone anti-discrimination event played out in country NSW, in a free exhibition opening 5 September 2015.

Noel Hazzard, a journalist and photographer working for the Tribune (Communist Party of Australia newspaper) spent one week in Moree and Walgett capturing Aboriginal people in the missions, reserves and camps, interviewing Charlie Perkins and Sydney University students, and the unfolding protests at Moree public pool and the Walgett RSL.

Freedom Ride ’65 co-curator Ronald Briggs, a Gamilaroi man [from Moree, NSW], said Aboriginal people were excluded from using the pool for “health reasons” – as indicated in council papers at the time.

“This exclusion from the pool became the defining symbol of the fight to end discrimination. In Walgett, it was the RSL as Aboriginal veterans were prevented from entering,” said Ronald.

During his research Ronald was “blown away” to discover a photo of his father Ronald McGrady as a 14 year-old, who was among the first Aboriginal people in Moree to jump in the pool while locals angrily defended the race-based ban.

Exhibition co-curators Ronald Briggs & Louise Denoon are available for interviews.

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