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Supporting land rights: students

Abschol, a student body formed to provide financial support for Aboriginal scholars, had by the late 1960s grown into a political lobby group. It was a vocal supporter of land rights. It provided support in many forms: fund raising, architectural and construction work for the community at Wattie Creek, boycotts and a 24-hour vigil for land rights. This vigil, planned to coincide with the launching of the Federal Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders (FCAATSI) land rights petition, was attended by hundreds of students and other supporters in all mainland capitals.

Abschol leaflet supporting the campaign for Aboriginal land rights

Abschol leaflet supporting the campaign for Aboriginal land rights

Bryant papers, MS 8256, National Library of Australia

Download Abschol leaflet supporting the Aboriginal land rights [PDF 196kb]

The press also supported the campaign. The Age, for example, reported:

This is a unique demonstration. No-one ever before has stood for 24 hours to emphasise a point of principle on behalf of Aborigines to ask that they receive land rights. And ten years ago no-one believed there ever would be such a protest - because Aborigines virtually were the forgotten people. [1]

'Black, white in 24-hour vigil' by Don Sharpe and John Jost

'Black, white in 24-hour vigil' by Don Sharpe and John Jost

The Age, 20 June 1968

Download 'Black, white in 24-hour vigil' by Don Sharpe and John Jost [PDF 1456kb]

The vigil supported the principle of land rights being applied across the country. The battle between the Gurindji underdogs and the powerful Vestey leaseholders at Wave Hill brought this principle dramatically to life.

Further resources

Abschol
Federal Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders

Footnotes

1 John Jost, 'Aboriginal Lands Vigil Nation-wide', The Age, 20 June 1968.



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