State Of Emergency...Politics & Protests surrounding the 1982 Commonwealth Games

by Katina Davidson

 As part of our research, we’ve been interviewing members of community who were around at the time so we can present the best perspective of that time as possible- as my co-curator and I both weren’t born yet. It’s been such a privilege to meet these important and respected members of the Brisbane Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. These Aunties and Uncles told us stories from being in the thick of it, travelling overseas to meet with delegates, planning boycotts, the generosity of people who gave money to set up a ‘bail fund’ for those who were arrested, as well as some who had to show their support in ways other than publicly marching to protect their jobs and families.

It’s been very humbling to hear their stories of my family and their involvement in committees, protests and rallies.

 Uncle Steve Mam, a Torres Strait Islander Elder, spoke lovingly of the Three Musketeers- himself, Pastor Don Brady and my grandfather, Don Davidson. They were widely known as the radicals of the 1970s and lead the way in many respects for those involved in the protests of the 80’s. It would be interesting to hear the stories of Pastor Don and Grandad Don if they were still with us.

We’ve found some astonishing photographs of the legal and illegal marches, the people who were living in the Tent City that was set up in Musgrave Park, protests at the QEII stadium and the mass arrests. Some of the people in the crowd shots still need to be identified - they might be members of your family, or friends. The only way to be sure will be to come and check out the exhibition when it opens!

State of Emergency: politics & protests surrounding the 1982 Commonwealth Games features first hand news and radio footage, photographs, items and personal stories from activists, academics and supporters and will be on display in kuril dhagun from 30 September 2012 until 19 April 2013.


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