Wave Hill 50 years on
Fifty years ago, Vincent Lingiari and 200 fellow workers walked off the Wave Hill cattle station in the Northern Territory, thrusting the labour and land rights of Aboriginal workers into the national spotlight.
A protest sparked by working for rations became a successful nine year struggle for land rights, one of Australia’s most compelling stories of social change.
As it unfolded, trade union activist Brian Manning was a regular visitor to the strikers’ camp at Wattie Creek, regularly driving the 16 hours from Darwin in a Bedford truck to deliver parcels of food and letters of support from the trade union movement.
Manning passed away in 2013, and in August his son, also Brian, retraced his father’s footsteps, driving from Darwin to attend the 50th anniversary at Kalkarindji, bringing along an exact replica of Bedford truck used to run the supplies.
Transport Workers’ Union National Secretary Tony Sheldon said the presence of the replica truck and the son of Mr Manning at the commemorations was important in reminding people of the role of activism and trade unions in effecting social change. (Source: Unions NSW)