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Charles Perkins and the Austarlian Freedom Rides for Aboriginal Equality

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Charles Perkins and the Freedom Rides- Charles Perkins was an independent working machine giving much for his people. Throughout the journey of his life, he had completed a variety of acts of major recognition and achievement despite the fact of being an aborigine. Born in 1936, Alice Springs to an Arrente mother and a Kalkadoon father he was raised along with 11 brothers and sisters. Though not part of the Stolen Generation, he was removed from Alice Springs Telegraph Station Aboriginal Reserve to be transferred to St. Francis House at the age of 10, where he spent a majority of his childhood secluded from family. Perkins was initially educated at St. Mary's Cathedral in Alice Spring before being transferred to St. Francis House in Adelaide. During his school-life, he had often suffered from racial discrimination from his peers and often looked down upon as being 'second-class' and inferior to others. However, it was during this time he discovered his latent skill and talent for soccer where he was taken overseas to England to play for leading amateur teams. During this time, he had honed his soccer skills and was respected in the soccer field. He tried out for top clubs and declined an offer from Manchester United. ...read more.


It was the most successful referendum with 90.77% of the Australian population voting 'yes'. After the referendum, Perkins acquired a career as a public servant in Canberra. In 1981 he was appointed Permanent Secretary of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs, the first aboriginal to become a permanent head of a federal government department. In 1989 he stepped down from his role and became the Chair of the Arrente Council of Central Australia. Throughout his careers Charles would always make witty comments and positively racist remarks to the Australian society. Due to this slack regards of rules and outspoken nature he never stayed in a job for too long but he was always aiming for one very important goal that he never swayed from. An unbiased Australia. The Freedom Rides- On the night of 12th February 1965, 30 university students lead by Charles Perkins embarked on a campaign in the country towns of New South Wales. This trip is now known as the 'Freedom Ride' which derived its name from the Civil Rights Movement in the United States where student protested in the form of bus trips through the Southern states. Students, both African American and white rode in the buses to make the government think twice about racial segregation in public facilities. ...read more.


As the film footage of the scene was unloaded into the news, Australia seemed to stand still for a minute. The racism uncovered by the Freedom Rides was bountiful and horrific. Each and every painful second was loaded onto tape, these included the racial segregation at Moore swimming pool, The Walgett RSL prohibition of aboriginals, The Kempsy Baths and also the Boraville picture theater. The legacy of the Freedom Rides and what the students had to go through did not all go to waste. In actual fact, it supported and reinstated the 1967 referendum. Perkins and his students had successfully conveyed a message to the whole of Australia starting a numerous range of debates and discussions. This increased the awareness of Aboriginal issues in rural context and inspired follow-up trips to these areas. The publicity gained raised the Australian conscience of racial discrimination and strengthened later campaigns to eradicate it. Later in the year, Harry Hall, president of Walgett Aborigines Progressive Association appealed to Perkins and other Aboriginal activists to assist back in the disruption against the colour bar at Oasis Hotel. After the 1967 referendum, the many amendments made to the aboriginals benefited them greatly in welfare, power and justice. The main outcome and result desired from 'The Freedom Ride' was finally achieved, equal justice for aboriginals and whites and creating a country where racism was no longer encouraged and practised. ...read more.

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