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Hidden Gems

Moree Soundtrails


Freedom Rides – Moree Baths

During the 60s it wasn’t unusual for Australian country towns to ban Aboriginal people from a variety of places, including restaurants, shops, pubs and even the local swimming pool.

The town of Moree however, took things much further, with the council going as far as formalising this discrimination in an ‘order’. For the Freedom Riders, this official segregation offered the perfect target and it didn’t take long before a full busload of Aboriginal children turned up at the Moree swimming pool demanding to be allowed in. It seemed an easy win when the council decided to let them in, but once the Freedom Riders left it didn’t take long for the council to revert back to their old, harsh rules.

Charlie Perkins and the other Freedom Riders were not to be taken for fools though. They turned up a few days later – on a Saturday afternoon, a notoriously dangerous time for a small country town – and again tried to enter the swimming pool. It didn’t take long for a riot to break loose, with missiles, punches and abuse hurled at the students. It ultimately ended with a famous victory for the Aboriginal people of Moree though, who proved on that day, that the colour of their skin would no longer deny them their human rights.

Please be warned - This Soundtrail may contain sensitive information of persons who are deceased. We apologise for any distress or offence that may be caused.

Aboriginal Diggers – Moree Cemetery

This cemetery ground is sacred ground - Kamilaroi ground. The Moree cemetery houses the remains of 220 Aboriginal people, including 120 children, the majority of whom never reached their first birthday. It comes as no surprise to learn that it was between 1940 and 1968 that most were buried here – the very peak of segregation. It was a time when calculative white authorities controlled the lives of the local Aboriginal people, and any chance of opportunity or development was virtually non-existent.

These are important stories that lie beneath the plaques and the headstones, stories that demand to be told. From the Archdeacon who was the first to allow Aboriginal people to have their own burial section in the cemetery; to the young, willing Aboriginal men who joined up to fight in the war; to how this very site - once flood damaged and abandoned - came to be restored and is now a meticulously documented site.

Soundtrails invites you along on this significant voyage of discovery, to walk the land with a new-found respect, and uncover the many rich and surprising stories of the land and its people.

Please be warned - This Soundtrail may contain sensitive information of persons who are deceased. We apologise for any distress or offence that may be caused.


FREEDOM RIDES: Freedom to swim Narration: William Verity, Paul Riveau, Wayne Nean, Dan Munro, Alwyn Duke. Bob Brown. Charlie Perkins, Bob Brown, Mayor Bill Lloyd. All our Christmases Wayne Nean & Darce Cassidy. That’s how life is Eileen Cain. You can be anything you want to be Jim Spiegelman, Alvin ‘Speedo’ Duke, Troy Cassar-Daley. Much overdue Pat Healey, Colin Bradford. Memories of Segregation Noeline Briggs-Smith, Fay Green. Hidden Soundfields Walgett Street Paul Riveau, Noeline Briggs-Smith. Gosport Street Rachel Perkins, Recordings Freedom Rides re-enactment 2015.

MOREE BATHS: Archdeacon Border Noeline Briggs-Smith, Harry White, reading from Marie Reay’s Diary (Australian National University 440/#1/Items 1-18) by Helen Wilkinson, narration by Hamish Sewell. Alex Stanley Isobel Johnson, Lyall Butterworth & Alf Scott (from Moree RSL). Fairview Nursing Home Moree Noeline Briggs-Smith. Len Waters Leonard Waters (nephew to Uncle Len). Percy Suey Linda Boney, Isobel Johnson. Extremely Patriotic! Linda Boney, John Maynard. Upon Their Return Alf Scott (from Moree RSL), John Maynard, Leonard Waters, Linda Boney, 'Friendship Road' sung by Roger Knox. At Last they’ve Been Recognised Harry White, Noeline Briggs-Smith, ‘Prayer’ in Language spoken by Bernadette Duncan, 'Where the Roses Never Fade' sung by The Newman Sisters (originally written & sung by Norma Jean). Hidden Soundfield: Prayer and musings by Roger Knox. Also featuring Benadette Duncan and Marlene Hinch. Roger Knox sings 'Suppertime' (originally written and sung by Ira Stamphill) & 'New Normal'. 'Suppertime' also sung by Marlene Hinch.


Archival photos made available with the permission of Anne Curthoys. Thanks also to Sydney University (© University of Sydney / Victoria Baldwin 2015) and William Verity for Freedom Ride re-enactment photos.


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