Ride to Freedom

12 February 2019 | General Interest

On the 12th February 1965, a group of Sydney University students called "Students for Aboriginal Rights" (SAFA), led by Aboriginal students Charles Perkins and Gary Williams, began a trip that would change Australian history.

Their journey was both an attempt to emulate the US Civil Rights Movement action in the early 1960s, and designed to expose the racist underbelly of Australian society in rural NSW. The book "Freedom Ride: a freedom rider remembers" by Ann Curthoys, relives the experience of the Freedom Ride, drawing largely upon a diary written during the journey and the recollections of Indigenous and nonIndigenous people who were involved.

"One lesson we can all draw from the Freedom Ride is the importance of speaking out against injustice, challenging oppression and discrimination, and doing it now." - Ann Curthoys, honorary professor, author and original freedom rider. 

Contemporary media reports as well as secondary accounts supplement the story, drawing attention to the impact of the ride and highlighting the ways in which the events have been remembered. 

For more information about the historic Freedom Ride and the stories behind them, see our interactive Vic. Curriculum-linked brief The 1965 Freedom Rides, full of multimedia teaching resources and suggested classroom activities.