Quang demonstration shows UQU’s anti-war heritage

Quang Incident in 4th September 1970 inside the Relaxation Block UQU Complex

Anti-war activists being jostled by security and Uni officials. Secretary Quang is at right.

This photographic record helps demonstrate the UQ Union Complex is an historic place where the University Administration and ‘the radical movement’ came into conflict over actions in opposition to the war in Vietnam.

As a result of this incident 4 students were charged. Two of the defendants (B & D) made the following claims:

“B challenged the basis on which he had been charged on the grounds that the charge is impossible to determine unless the question is put before the whole community. 

On the same point, in answer to Mr. Matthews (for the University), D said: 

“I feel that what was happening could have been dealt with by the Press in such a way to bring disrepute to the radical movement in the community … I  would point out that the radical movement and the University are two distinct entities, the difference being we are right and they are wrong ……”

Anti-war activists detain Secretary Quang from South Vietnam (seated)

In finding the students guilty and issuing suspensions to 3 of them the committee said that they too were opposed to the war but wished to allow Quang his right to free speech. 

From my recollection of the meeting Secretary Quang refused to answer questions from the radicals about which side he took in the Vietnamese war against the French. 

So the University was in effect upholding Quang’s right to be silent the conduct of the war and on the atrocities being committed in Vietnam by the South Vietnamese government and the occupation forces of the US and Australia.

Ian Curr
3 Oct 2019

One response to “Quang demonstration shows UQU’s anti-war heritage

  1. No heritage value - according to Queensland Heritage Council

    Stupid decision taken by Queensland Heritage Council below.

    The UQ Forum area was crucial to Qld political development.

    Read this account is in Bjelke Blues edited by Edwina Shaw:

    The forum areas around the Student’s Union were a vital area for their speeches (for democratic rights) and I helped organise microphones and book spots for them. The Campaign against Nuclear Power (CANP) on campus also made a big impact on me and I remain an anti-nuclear activist to this day.

    Queensland Heritage Council RESOLUTION NO. 330.1
    Having considered the application, oral representations, the report of the Department and the recommendation of the Chief Executive’s delegate for the Schonell Theatre, University of Queensland Union Complex, St Lucia, the Queensland Heritage Council resolves in accordance with s.53 of the Act not to enter the Schonell Theatre or the University of Queensland Union Complex, St Lucia in the Queensland Heritage Register as a State Heritage Place because it does not satisfy one or more of the cultural heritage criteria as specified in s.35(1) of the Act.


Please keep comments brief (moderated for spam only)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.