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Yirrkala, 1963-71

Middle range shot of a group 16 people seated in chairs in a circle in the bush. Six people are facing the camera, the rest have their backs to the camera.
Justice Woodward, Frank Purcell, Roy Marika and other residents at land rights hearing
This photo was taken at Yirrkala. It is not dated but would most likely have been taken in 1971.
Source: PH0416/0082, ABC TV Collection, Northern Territory Library and Information Service, Davwin

Bark petition

On 15 August 1963 the Melbourne Age reported under the headline 'House Hears Plea in Strange Tongue':

The strangest petition yet received by the House of Representatives - written in the aboriginal language on a length of stringy bark - was presented to the House today. It began - 'Bukudjuini gonga yuru napurrunha yirrakilli [...]' Which means - 'The humble petition of the undersigned people of Yirrkala'.

This petition, signed by representatives of the tribal groups who lived on the Gove Peninsula west of Darwin, objected to a large mining venture which the federal government had approved without bothering to consult with the people whose families had lived there for many, many generations.

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