1982 Commonwealth Games Land Rights Protests

A note to indigenous people, this film contains images of people who are deceased.

LeftPress would like to acknowledge the Jagera and Torrubul people on whose land this film was shot – land never ceded to the colonisers. A note to indigenous people, this film contains images and songs of people who are deceased. In 1982 a Black Protest Committee was set up to organise black activities around the Brisbane Commonwealth Games. Its headquarters was at 130 Petrie Terrace, Brisbane. It had limited resources but provided assistance to Blacks involved in protest around the Commonwealth Games.

At the time of the 1982 Commonwealth Games, Queensland was the last state to have an “Aborigines Act” and the mass protests of Aboriginal people and their supporters were crucial in raising the pressure to have the act repealed. Those protests saw hundreds of people arrested, as they took to the streets in the face of repression from the Bjelke-Peterson Government — who had declared a State of Emergency and proclaimed street marches illegal. During the week of protests, many people camped out in Musgrave Park in South Brisbane — which provided both a base for the protests and a place to gather, meet and share. This historic, unedited film footage captures these moments and honours the veterans of the struggle and those that were part of the 1982 protests and also provide a chance for the next generation to share in the struggles of the past and to once again gather meet and take up the struggles of the future.

This Raw film footage is taken from Super 8. It is held as an archive by the Fryer Library at the University of Queensland. LeftPress wishes to thank the Brisbane Murris for allowing us to share in their struggle for aboriginal Land Rights and Sovereignty. We dedicate and give this film to the Brisbane Black Community.

Tent Embassy, King George Square – Cheryl Buchanan speaks. I am not sure of the date but it was in the build up to 1982 but prior to it . There was a previous Tent embassy set up in King George Square earlier – 1976 I think.

First rally August 3, 1982 Roma Street Forum – Phil Perrier – March up Turbot Street- Commonwealth Games signs – Koories support Murris – Adelaide Street march (no sound) – Boomerang Tours bus – black control of aboriginal affairs – Land Rights – abolish Qld Acts – Land Rights chanting and banners with people looking on in Adelaide street – sit down -film shows bystanders – Adelaide and George street march.

Musgrave Park Tent Embassy – 1982 protests -shows  left and socialist groups on Jagera land in Musgrave Park, South Brisbane

Preparing to march from Garden City, Mr Gravatt to QEII – final instructions given to non-indigenous people ti stay at the back – approach towards games site -over S-E freeway – police blockade -QEII in distance – confrontation with police – sit down – arrests begin – land rights flags – media – aboriginal film crew – special branch.

Roma Street Forum – Kay Saunders holds placard “Axe Fraser”

Neville Bonner -Liberal government senator for Qld speaks.

Oodgeroo  –
“I am very appalled by what is happening here in Qld. What amazes me is that we are under what is known as British justice, and if British justice is as just as it is supposed to be then, through this media, and at this meeting, I as a member of the British empire appeal to her majesty, the Queen of England, to intervene on our behalf.

This son of mine
Look up, my people
The dawn is breaking
The world is waking
to a new bright day
When none defame us
nor colour shame us
nor sneer dismay
Now brood no more
on the years behind you
The hope assigned you
shall the past replace
when juster justice grown wise
and stronger points the bone
no longer at a darker race

Mick Miller – Qld Northern Lands Council talks about role of TV, media – focus on marching:

“A lot is being said about Aboriginal Land Rights, the fight for land rights I think we have to emphasise those points that we have always made, you know television, the media focusing attention on the battle for land rights here we have to focus attention on available land rights here in Queensland we have to get out on the streets and march, to protest in any form whatever, that is the best way of getting the point across.

Cheryl Buchanan, chairperson of the rally:

“Some people in their individual way and within their parties have done what they can for the aboriginal movement and we are allowing them to speak here today, one of these people, I will now introduce, is Senator Susan Ryan .”

Senator Susan Ryan (ALP Senator), then shadow minister later Minister for Aboriginal Affairs in the Hawke Labor Government –

‘ … the parliamentary Labor party and a very large group of people (are) standing shoulder to shoulder with you here today and the federal leader of the Labor opposition, Bill Hayden…
We are here to say one thing, we (will use) the constitutional power of the commonwealth when we are in government to secure land rights for Queensland aboriginal and islander people in Queensland.

Gary Foley, Land Rights Activist

“… establishes beyond all reasonable doubt, prior occupancy, prior ownership of this country.
Land Rights … land rights is important for the survival of aboriginal people.
Land rights is vital for the survival of aboriginal this society that is around us here today, all them big buildings and all that stuff (all through this) state and all through white Australia is a society that worships money and if aboriginal people (clapping and pause) goes crawling to those people in the Department of Aboriginal Affairs we don’t have to go to Canberra with our caps in our hands and sucking to the bureaucrats in aboriginal affairs, because then we are going to own money we generate our own money cos then we are going to own money, to generate our own money in this country all over this country

March up Turbot street – John Tracey with child – March coming around into Adelaide street.

This is a LeftPress film shot on aboriginal land (Jagerra and Torrubul) in Brisbane during the Commonwealth Games in 1982. Copyright owned by LeftPress Printing Society PO Box 5093 West End Qld 4101. Original Held by the Fryer Library at the University of Queensland.

We wish to acknowledge the one nation first people who never ceded sovereignty over the land where this was shot – especially the sacred place, Musgrave Park.

LeftPress is a non-profit organisation dedicated to the promotion of socialist literature and original works.

Shot by Lachlan Hurse and Ian Curr.

For showing or comment please contact Ian Curr on 07 3398 5215 or
0407 687 016

1982 Commonwealth Games Land Rights Protests

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