News

The Freedom Ride rides again


11 February 2011

The 2011 Freedom Ride will retrace Charles Perkins' historic journey. [Image: youthconnections.com.au/freedomride]
The 2011 Freedom Ride will retrace Charles Perkins' historic journey. [Image: youthconnections.com.au/freedomride]

This Saturday 12 February, a group of students from the Central Coast of New South Wales will retrace Charles Perkins's historic Freedom Ride of 1965, which travelled 2300 km around NSW and visited 21 communities. It begins at the University of Sydney's Quadrangle at 9am.

The Freedom Ride 2011 will set out to give remote Aboriginal communities an active role in supporting constitutional change for Indigenous Australians.

"We will be carrying a message stick and submitting communities' views to the Panel for input into the Government's final document process for constitutional change," said Gavi Duncan, a participant and youthconnections.com.au Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Advisor.

The group has also sought the support of Government to have the Freedom Ride acknowledged as an annual celebration among all Australians.

Youthconnection.com.au's Aboriginal Unit Koori Connect, which initiated the project, has spent the past five months in consultation with the wider and Aboriginal communities across NSW.

There will be a public send-off from Eileen and Hetti Perkins, wife and daughter of the late Charles Perkins; along with the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Paul Lynch; Vice-Chancellor Michael Spence, and journalist Darce Cassidy, who was a participant in the original Freedom Ride of 1965.

Janet Mooney, the Director of the University of Sydney's Koori Centre, said the Freedom Ride was an exciting educational initiative for the 30 participating Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal high school students.

"What a great learning adventure, which will also build on and highlight the need for the continued support for Indigenous rights and equality," she said.

At the time of the original ride in 1965, Aboriginal people were not counted in the official census. To raise public awareness, University of Sydney student Charles Perkins organised a bus tour of western and coastal New South Wales towns with the purpose of drawing public attention to the poor state of Aboriginal health, education and housing.

The Freedom Ride 2011 bus will be lead out by Central Coast Aboriginal Motorcycle group The Black Knights.

All media please register by 9am under the Clock Tower (located within the Quadrangle building of the Camperdown Campus, entry via University Avenue).

Follow the Freedom Ride 2011 on its blog, Twitter and Facebook.


Media enquiries: Jessica Oldfield, youthconnections.com.au, 0448 210 049
Jessica@youthconnections.com.au

Jacqueline Chowns, University of Sydney, 0434 605 018, jacqueline.chowns@sydney.edu.au