Community News

Stories of the Freedom Ride 65 opens in Yamba on Friday

cvi   On Friday night Yamba Museum Vision 4 Change (V4C) Exhibition will commemorate the 50th anniversary of 30 university students who left Sydney on a bus to raise awareness and challenge racist attitudes in rural towns across NSW. The museum has borrowed photos and panels from an exhibition of the same historical event that was recently showcased at the ‘State Library’. Called ’The 1965 Freedom Ride’ the bus visited regional towns which had a large Indigenous population like Taree, Kempsey, Grafton, Lismore and Moree. Yamba Museum Curator-Manager Marea Buist said “the uni students set off in a bus with nothing more than a vision for change. They wanted to draw attention to racial discrimination and the shameful living conditions of Aboriginal people in country NSW. Fifty years later while much has been achieved there is still more do. In our own way, the Freedom Ride ’65 exhibition exposes our own attitudes and motivates us to seek change even if it is a shift in our own attitudes. The Yamba Museum is privileged to have obtained some of unpublished photographs from the State Library’s Tribune archive during the Freedom Ride in 1965. The collection highlights racial discrimination and visitors will find the images compelling and the experience moving. As a non Aboriginal adult I am truly moved by the student’s determination and their ability to stand together as black and white to effect change on such a divisive issue”, Ms Buist said. While this is a national story the exhibition does touch on the Clarence Valley segregation issue. Bringing the local story into the light through this exhibition is V4C project curator Debrah Novak. Ms Novak said “this exhibition features four stories from local people who experienced or were touched in some way by the segregation issue. While we acknowledge the sensitive issue we showcase the fact it was black and white working together for a universal truth and that is caring for and about equal human rights. The four amazing local people we have included are Dolly Mundine, the first Jacaranda Candidate, Jessie Street who triggered the 1967 referendum, Col Brown whose family owned a shop at Moree dur ing the Freedom Ride and Aunty Muriel Burns who grew up on Ulgundahi Island. Each in their own way were trailblazers opening up the path for others to follow” Ms Novak said. The exhibition opens on Friday night at 6.30pm at Yamba Museum and will feature the music video ‘Freedom Ride’ by Troy Cassar Daley.