Lost film of the street marches

History is an angel being blown backwards into the future
History is a pile of debris
And the angel wants to go back and fix things
To repair the things that have been broken
But there is a storm blowing from Paradise
And the storm keeps blowing the angel backwards into the future
And this storm, this storm is called Progress.

Inspired by Walter Benjamin
Lyrics by Laurie Anderson

This is lost footage of street marches in Brisbane in 1977. The marches were organised by the CLCC and the anti-uranium movement in defiance of the ban on political street marches declared by the Qld government on 4 Sept 1977.

The demonstrations shown occurred on 12 September, 22 September, and 22 October 1977.

I can identify the people arrested and remember the circumstances of this struggle where over 3,000 people were arrested between 12 September 1977 and July 1979. It is the longest period of mass civil disobedience in Australian history.

A number of these were shot by Marian and Leslie and various others carrying cumbersome equipment under threat of arrest unlike the mainstream media camera crews. For example there is a sequence right at the end of this clip shot by Marian and Leslie on the steps of King George Sq and the lines of marchers go down into the Albert Street (the valley of death) to be arrested by police – that sequence was from the second defiant march in the city on 22 Sept 1977 after the street march ban by Bjelke-Petersen to stop the anti-uranium movement.

IWD 1977
Snr Cnst John Watt arrests woman at International Women’s day 1978

Leslie and Joseph with about 11 others from the Civil Liberties Co-ordinating Committee had previously been arrested on 12 Sept 1977.

On 12 Sept 1977 the women arrested were stripped searched in the police watchouse with male police in attendance.

At a street march we organised on the 22 Sept 1977, Leslie returned with Marian with a port-a-pak and after some discussion with us about how to go about it, they shot the marchers filing into the street in a long row.

Some footage was shot by Mick Fanning on 22 October 1977.

This footage was included in a video If you don’t fight you lose made by Leslie, Joseph and myself.

Ian Curr
3 November 2013

PS Ironically the Communist Party of Australia who opposed marching till the time was right (22 Oct 1977) used this banner of people marching against the ban on political marches for their 1979 conference. There was only one member of the Communist Party in the front line of this early march against the ban.

CPA and street marches
?, Grant Carr (IS), Ian Curr (Ind), Brad Bowden (IS), Murray Broad(?) CPA, Dan O’Neill (Ind), Jane Gruchy (Ind), Lee Birmingham (IS), Joe Evans (Ind), John Minns (IS)

One thought on “Lost film of the street marches

  1. Discussion between Sam Watson and Dennis Walker about Land Rights Struggle says:

    In 2006 the Museum of Brisbane put on an exhibition called “Taking to the Streets – two decades that changed Brisbane 1965 – 1985” in 2006.

    This discussion between Sam Watson and Dennis Walker about Land Rights Struggle from the 1960s to the current day formed one of the exhibits.


    This archive includes radical films such as: The Long March (1974) The Whole World is Watching (1981) Manufacturing Dissent (1996)

    Thanks to Radical Times Historical Archive for this footage and other films appearing in sequence here. Contact: peter@radicaltimes.info

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