Radical History

Examples of stories from the huge historical listings within the book.

Melbourne, 1969
A meeting of 200 union shop stewards issues a statement reading, “We encourage those young men already conscripted to refuse to accept orders against their consciences and those in Vietnam to lay down their arms in mutiny against the hideous barbarism perpetuated in our name upon the innocent, aged, men, women and children.” Following the launch of an investigation into the statement by the Attorney-General another union meeting, this time by the NSW Teachers Federation, sees 180 delegates sign a petition calling on Australian servicemen “to lay down their arms in mutiny.” Despite strong condemnation by the media and the Government, the strength of anti-war feeling ensures that charges of incitement to mutiny, which carry penalties of up to life in prison, are never brought against the unionists.

Melbourne, 1968
When the Vice-Chancellor demands footprints that have been painted walking up a Melbourne University building “come down”, graffiti artists add a second lot of footprints doing just that.

Wollongong, 1969
A draft resister successfully halts a train carrying conscripts by sitting on the railway line.

Sydney, 1985
Green guerrillas begin planting fruit and other food-producing trees across Sydney, breaking up much concrete in the process.

Canberra, 1989
During the opening of the new Parliament House, Greenpeace activists steal the limelight by scaling the building to drop a banner over the entrance reading, “No More Uranium Mines In Kakadu World Park.”

Newcastle, 1954
Women who are paid five pounds less a week for the same work as men at a ball-bearing factory introduce an overtime ban in which they stop work for 15 minutes a shift to ensure their work rate reflects their pay rate.

Melbourne, 1992
On Invasion Day Koori activists and their non-Indigenous supporters re-enact the First Fleet’s landing with a twist. Instead of engaging in the wholesale annexation of Australia, the sailors, soldiers and convicts arriving at St Kilda beach agree to recognise Aboriginal sovereignty and compensate Indigenous people for the use of their land. When Captain Phillip attempts to scuttle the treaty he is bound on board with convict chains and deported.

Roxby Downs, 1984
During actions against the construction of the Olympic Dam uranium mine two protesters superglue their hands to a gate to prevent the entry of vehicles. While the police manage to remove them with the use of an oxy-cutter, the pair appear in court the following day with sections of piping and a lock still attached to their bodies.

Perth, 1985
Ten people are arrested by police for painting “human shadows” on the footpath as part of an international action to mark the fortieth anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima.