Please note: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, voices or names of deceased persons in photographs, film, audio recordings or printed material.

Some material may contain terms that reflect authors’ views, or those of the period in which the item was written or recorded, but may not be considered appropriate today. These views are not necessarily the views of AIATSIS. While the information may not reflect current understanding, it is provided in an historical context.

1965 Freedom Ride

The 1965 Freedom Ride exhibition introduces you to the Student Action For Aborigines organisation and explains how students from the University of Sydney drew national and international attention to the poor living conditions of Aboriginal people and the racism that was rife in New South Wales country towns from 12 – 26 February 1965. This event was the beginning of resetting the relationship between Aboriginal people and non-Aboriginal people in contemporary Australia.

The Ride included a survey of Aboriginal living conditions, a direct challenge to a ban against Aboriginal ex-servicemen at the Walgett Returned Services League, and a demonstration against local laws barring Aboriginal children from the Moree and Kempsey swimming pools. 

The group ensured their protests were covered by the media, bringing the issue of racial discrimination to national and international press attention, and stirring public debate about the disadvantage and racism facing Aboriginal people across Australia at the time.

View the exhibition

Link to Freedom Ride online exhibition

Last reviewed: 1 May 2017

AIATSIS acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, culture and community.

We pay our respects to elders past and present.

1965 Freedom Ride | Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies


Status message

  • xmlsitemap_node_cron: Launched in thread 1
  • queue_feeds_sync_cache_feeds_http: Launched in thread 1
The website encountered an unexpected error. Please try again later.