Books, Non-Fiction

What do we want? When do we want it? Now!

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The history of protest is explored and captured in photographs and images in this new book, What Do We Want? The Story of Protest in Australia by Clive Hamilton, published by the National Library of Australia.

Hamilton explores the forms of protest used in the big social movements that defined modern Australia and “how these movements for equality, peace and environmental action have confronted the ugliness in Australian society and caused epoch-defining shifts in social attitudes”. Protest movements described in words, and told in pictures, in the 200 page book include anti-Vietnam, women’s gay and Indigenous rights protests.

These protests take place anywhere; from the heart of our cities to small camps in our forests, as people take all kinds of action to achieve their desired aim and make their voices heard.

Protest in Australia
May Day, 1965 in Sydney and the Union of Australian Women members march behind a float to protest the Vietnam War.
Protest in Australia
Mothers thrown in prison. The “Fairlea Five”in 1971 were the first civilians charged under the draconian Summary Offences Act for handing out anti-conscription leaflets. Their children gathered to protest outside the Melbourne women’s jail.
Protest in Australia
Maroubra Memorial Hall in 1962. Premier Heffron’s speech was interrrupted by protestors demanding citizenship for Aboriginal people. It was not granted until 1967.
Protest in Australia
Demonstrators and police outside Crown Casino, Melbourne for the S11 demonstration at the World Economic Forum, September 2000.
Protest in Australia
In 1998 the annual Sydney Mardi Gras march saw NSW police join the parade for the first time since the event began in 1978.

[box]Main image: International Women’s Day, Melbourne 1975.[/box]

One response to “What do we want? When do we want it? Now!

  1. I marched in my first Sydney May Day Parade in 1967, a little before my 15th birthday, protesting the military coup in Greece and against Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War. Those protest marches were huge events. I joined the Vietnam Moratorium and anti-war movement, as had many of my schoolmates from Randwick North High School in Sydney– and some of our teachers – and many other worthy causes since. I am still very active now, in my mid-60s. I bought my first camera in 1972 and have gone on to record on film and digital media a great many of the protest movements and events in which I have participated. One day, I shall hand over my prints, negatives and files to the State Library. Nothing changes unless the people take up the cause. The Deputy Principal at my high school had threatened activist anti-war students with expulsion during the Vietnam war era, (because we used to hand out leaflets outside of school grounds after school finished for the day) but none of our fellow students would dob us in, despite his pleas for us to be identified at numerous school assemblies. My life then was to involve myself with the anti-war and anti-fascist movement, and my social life revolved around the political and activist groups I had joined, and I remember those days as the best days of my life.

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