Culture and heritage

Aboriginal heritage

Segregation

It's a strange fact that in NSW, segregation only became widely known when desegregation began. How many white people in Sydney, for instance, would have known that Aboriginal people were commonly barred from public swimming pools in country towns? This only really became public knowledge after the violence when Charlie Perkins and other Freedom Ride members attempted to desegregate the Moree swimming pool in 1968.

The Moree swimming pool is under consideration for being placed on the NSW State Heritage Register for its association with the Freedom Ride. Many other public buildings in NSW were also 'sites of segregation'. We are now trying to record some of these places for their significance in the history of race relations.

What people have said

Mum was fed up with paying the same theatre fee as white people, and then having to sit up the front in the restricted area. One night she said to her sister, Stella, 'I'm going to sit up the back, I have a sore neck from sitting down here', and she did.

Some white people complained to the manager that a black woman was sitting up the back. He came down with the usher and shone a torch in her face, then asked her to leave. She said she wouldn't and if he liked he could try to move her. When he saw that she was not going to budge, he walked away and left her.

That's all it took, just someone to stand up for herself. From that night everyone sat where they wanted.

… Patricia Davis-Hurst 1996, Sunrise Station (Taree: Sunbird Publications), 45, referring to her mother's experience at the old Boomerang Theatre in Taree

Useful links

Although we can't guarantee the accuracy of the information, you might find these websites useful:

Page last updated: 17 May 2013