The history of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy
Updated Gallery: Aboriginal Tent Embassy The Aboriginal Tent Embassy was founded on Australia Day in 1972 to protest the decision by the McMahon Liberal government to reject a proposal for Aboriginal Land rights. The government instead planned to implement a lease system, conditional on the ability of Indigenous people to make economic and social use of the land, and excluding rights to mineral and forestry resources. Four Indigenous activists - Michael Anderson, Billy Craigie, Bertie Williams and Tony Coorey - set up the protest at 1.00am under a beach umbrella on the lawns of Parliament House (Old Parliament House). The movement quickly gained traction, with more and more tents being erected and numbers at one point swelling to 2,000. On July 20, after the Government modified a law relating to trespass on Commonwealth lands, Police moved in and forcibly dismantled the embassy. On several occasions, most recently in 2003, it has been subject to arson attacks.
Related: Indigenous History
• Indigenous Rights
• Land Rights