Here is an early photo that I have of Noel Preston (centre, holding anti-nuclear cartoon by Ron Cobb) during the street marches (1977).
That is Pam Jones beside Noel (holding ‘People before Power Politics’). Mal McKenna is in the shot as well (far right of frame). Mal is holding a placard with ‘Concerned Christians‘ written on it.
The photo was taken outside the South Brisbane watchhouse after the ‘Concerned Christians’ were arrested for singing hymns in Queens Park! It is almost exactly 43 years since Noel and others in the photos were arrested in the largest ever act of defiance against an Australian government where they were taken into custody along with 418 people who opposed the mining and export of uranium ordered by both Petersen (State) and Frazer (Federal) governments.
Noel was a member of the Campaign Against Nuclear Power that organised that rally in King George Square on 22 October 1977.
In that same year, Noel became a founding member of Foundation for Aboriginal and Islander Research Action (FAIRA) along with Bob Weatherall, Les Maelzer, Pam Jones and others. FAIRA pursued the rights of the First Peoples of Australia through research, education and lobby at the local, national and international levels. They helped repatriate to country many aboriginal people placed in museums around the world.
That’s how bad it was then … Noel, Pam, Bob, Les and others fought hard against the hypocritical and repressive Bjelke-Petersen government.
After the Goss government won in 1991, Noel pursued an academic career focused on ethics and social justice.
However I do not think he ever forgot those terrible years under Bjelke-Petersen.
Noel passed away a few days ago after a long fight against cancer.
My condolences to his family, friends and old comrades.
26 October 2020
Vale Rev Dr Noel Preston – A service of remembrance and thanksgiving for the life of Rev Dr Noel Preston will be held this Friday 30 October 2020 from 1.30pm at West End Uniting Church.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, attendance is by invitation only.
A public livestream will be available at West End Uniting Church (reserve a seat) and Trinity Uniting Church in Wellington Point (reserve a seat).
The service can also be viewed on YouTube.