On the 12th of February 1965, a group of students from the University of Sydney, set out on a bus ride through rural and regional New South Wales. Their objective was to find out more about the poor living conditions that Aboriginal people in rural and regional areas were forced to live under, as well as to expose White racism. The ride left Sydney on the 12th of February and returned on the 25th. They travelled to Wellington, Gulargumbone, Walgett, Moree, Lismore, Bowraville, and Kempsey. In Walgett the Freedom Ride bus was deliberately rammed off the road by a local.
The Freedom Rides helped to bring attention to the conditions that many Aboriginal people were forced to live in, as well as the overt discrimination that White Australians subjected Aboriginal to.
One of the most well known Freedom Riders was Uncle Charlie Perkins, who at the time had been a professional soccer player, was a student at the University of Sydney, and later become one of the country’s most respected leaders.
The Freedom Ride was a significant event in this country’s history, and one that all Australians should recognise.
Additional resources available online:
- Freedom Ride, 1965 from National Museum of Australia
- Freedom Ride from Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
- The Critical Classroom’s Remembering the Freedom Ride