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state library of queensland
First Nations cultures

Ross Watson speaks about protests of 1982

By Administrator | 25 February 2013

Kuril dhagun’s Night by the Fire talk series returns in March with the inspirational Ross Watson speaking about his involvement in 1982 Commonwealth Games protests and political demonstrations for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander civil liberties.

 Ross Watson is one of the seven individuals featured in the State of Emergency exhibition currently on display in kuril dhagun. Ross was a front line activist, coordinator of the Black Protest Committee and editor of Black Nation Newspaper which was a global publication and five editions were released from 1982 to 1985. It was a form of media which published Indigenous perspectives at a time when issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders were not included in mainstream media unless it was being scrutinised. The newspaper played an important role in 1982 as a form of communication regarding rallies, protests and demonstrations. Ross emphasised the need for peaceful protests to express the political messages without it being soured by ugly confrontations which would undoubtedly steal the headlines.

Ross was involved in the gatherings at Musgrave Park and the Tent City which was established at the site. In 1982 the park was the place for discussion and consultation. Decision making was always done by consensus and never a process of voting. Through consensus there is a general agreement opposed to a voting system where the people can become divided. There was no hierarchy at the park. Many Aboriginal people from all over Australia camped there. Elders and women’s tents were erected to care for the old and young. There were often visitors lending a hand and there were always representatives from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-run community services such as the legal service, child care and health. Musgrave Park is a special place and in 1982 it was a hub where generous attitudes, solidarity and the strength of the community united everybody for the cause.

Join us as we stoke up the fire for the first time for 2013 in kuril dhagun’s Talking Circle.

 A night by the fire with State of Emergency

When: Tue 5 Mar 2013, 6:30 pm - 07:30 pm
Venue: kuril dhagun, level 1, State Library
Cost: Free
Bookings: or 3842 9061
More information: kuril dhagun
3842 9061


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