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Indigenous Australia - Embassy (1972 - )

Political Group
Alternative Names
  • Aboriginal Embassy
  • Tent Embassy


On Australia Day / Invasion Day in January 1972, the Prime Minister of Australia, Mr William McMahon made his ill-fated statement on Aboriginal Rights. The reaction was instant and dramatic as Redfern-based Aboriginal activists moved quickly to establish a protest camp on the lawns of Parliament House in Canberra. Activists Michael Anderson, Billy Craigie, Tony Coorie and Bert Williams set up a protest that they dubbed the ‘Aboriginal Embassy’.

The group accidentally exposed a flaw in Canberra ordinances when it was discovered that there was no actual prohibition on camping on the Parliamentary lawn. This enabled the activists to establish a permanent office/camp/protest on the lawns.

In the six months it stood the "Aboriginal Embassy" protest put the Australian Indigenous struggle for justice onto the international political stage. Indeed, it was so successful that a desperate McMahon Government covertly rushed through Parliament a special law to make it illegal to camp on the lawns of Parliament and ACT Police demolished the "Embassy" in a series of violent demonstrations in July 1972.

The "Aboriginal Embassy" protest was the most effective political action in the history of the Aboriginal struggle.

[Gary Foley]



  • Collection of Government Documents Relating to the Aboriginal Tent Embassy of 1972, Unpublished, 1972. Image PDF Details


  • Direct Action 25, no. 25, Socialist Workers League, Sydney, 24 August 1972. Image PDF Details
  • Direct Action 15, no. 15, Socialist Workers League, Sydney, 1 March 1972. Image PDF Details

Newspaper Articles

  • 'Blacks for Australian Independence', Aboriginal and Islander Identity, vol. 3, no. 3, Aboriginal Publications Foundation, Perth, July 1977. Transcript HTML Transcript PDF Details
  • Newfong, John, 'The Aboriginal Embassy: Its purpose and aims', Aboriginal and Islander Identity, vol. 1, no. 5, Aboriginal Publications Foundation, Perth, July 1972. Transcript HTML Transcript PDF Details

Press Releases

  • Occupy Melbourne Media Team, Occupy Melbourne Calls for Treaty with the First Nations of Australia, [This copy courtesy of Beth Muldoon], Melbourne, 2011, 1 pp. PDF Details