75 years ago, on May 1 (May Day), 1946, hundreds of Aboriginal workers began walking off dozens of pastoral stations across the vast Pilbara region to fight for wages and better living conditions. The Pilbara Aboriginal strikers’ demands were straightforward: a 30 shilling per week minimum wage, the right to elect their own representatives and freedom of movement. Yet their actions directly challenged Western Australia’s Aborigines Act 1905, which controlled every aspect of Aboriginal people’s lives. Consequently, they confronted not only the wealthy station owners, but also a regime of colonial servitude enforced by police and the Department of Native Affairs.
This session will uncover the history of the longest strike in Australian history and the working class heroes like Dooley Bin Bin, Daisy Bindi and Don McLeod who made history.