Essay on Role of Charles Perkins in the Australian Freedom Ride

Submitted By kostagalanis
Words: 610
Pages: 3

Charles Perkins was born in Alice springs in 1936 and played professional soccer in England from 1957 to 1960. In 1963 Charles Perkins began studies at Sydney University, where he was a founding member of the student action for Aborigines, later becoming president. On 12th February 1965, he and fellow student Jim Spigelman led 28 other on a tour known as the freedom ride.
Charles Perkins believed, ”That degree was going to help me... to take a position in aboriginal affairs...and to attack racism and disadvantaged position of Aboriginal people...and inequalities that Aboriginal people face...” [1] As seen Perkins motive from the beginning of the campaign was to take action and publicise the issue of blatant discrimination. Charles Perkins and his associates within the Freedom Ride “believed in the power of non-violent protests, of direct action in the face of injustice.”[2]
The freedom ride had impacted on laws that were discriminating Aboriginals such as on 20th February 1965. Where Perkins and the freedom ride tried to enter the swimming pool at Moree, where the local council had barred Aboriginal people from swimming. They faced physical opposition from several hundred white Australians, and were pelted with eggs and tomatoes. The event was broadcasted across Australia and under pressure from the public, the council got rid of the ban and Aboriginals were allowed in.
Another impact was where the student action for Aborigines (SAFA) campaigned with the Walgett branch to end segregation at the luxury theatre and oasis hotel and eventually won a long struggle to achieve this.

The freedom ride generated great media and public interest in the unjust treatment of Aboriginals, and sparked a national debate on the state of Aboriginal affairs and welfare. This debate created great public pressure on the government to act. That led to the 1967 referendum which allowed the Aborigines in the national census and recognised them as Australian citizens. It allowed the federal government to provide welfare to the Indigenous population and allows them to have great access to justice and the legal system, which helped break down the social barrier between the Indigenous and the white population.

Charles Perkins had television coverage combined with newspaper coverage which focused the national attention on the Freedom ride and brought racist behaviour in country towns and its