As a nation, countless Australians fought the idea of giving back the land to its traditional owners. A full-on battle of equality and right’s seeped through the bushes of the great land down under.
Australia has a reputation of being a country in which human rights have been protected but it hasn’t always been that way. For instance, the 1966 Wave hill strike, where roughly 200 Aboriginal workers walked off the job on the Vesteys’ cattle station at Wave Hill in the Northern Territory. Their dissatisfaction ran deeper than just low-priced wages and inexcusable work conditions. What started as a petition for equality and fairness ended in a fight for land rights. The wave hill strike is a significance event in Australian history because it was the start of giving aboriginal rights and finally accepting them as equals in the community. In 1913 a legislation was mandatory that in return for their work, Aboriginal people in the northern territory should receive food, clothes, tea and tobacco.
Even though there was a law, many broke it to fill their selfish and greedy pockets. Aboriginal workers were treat dreadfully and unethically, In 1946 a report by RM and CH Berndt discussed how aboriginal children under the age of twelve were working illegally. The report also conferred how sexual abuse of Aboriginal women, and prostitution for supplies and clothing was also occurring. Aboriginal workers would work hard for hours and was not supplied with safe drinking water and sanitation or rubbish removal facilities. The Working and living conditions for Indigenous people were very underprivileged and unfortunate.
The wages of Aboriginal workers were normally controlled and not equal to those paid to non-Aboriginal employees. In August 1966, Aboriginal workers walked off the job on the vast Vesteys’ cattle station at Wave Hill. At first, they expressed their unhappiness with their poor working conditions and disrespectful treatment but the focus of the campaign moved from worker’s rights to land rights.