The Pilbara Aboriginal Strike

Bain Attwood (Curator), Anne Scrimgeour (Curator)

Research output: Non-textual formWebsiteResearch


The Pilbara Aboriginal strike of 1946-49, and the founding of co-operatives by the strikers in the following decade, constitute one of the most significant episodes in Australia’s post-war Aboriginal history, but there has been no major study of the strike or the co-operatives, or how these events have been remembered. This exhibition investigates how and why the strike occurred and the co-operatives were formed; it examines the experience of the principal actors; and it considers how the strike has been remembered.

This extensively researched exhibition provides the first major account of a highly significant event in Australia’s post-war Aboriginal history.
It sheds new light on the dynamic processes of brokering and accommodation that are involved in cross-cultural encounters by investigating the role of the key players. It deepens historical understanding by revealing how new indigenous meanings, practices and ways of being are forged in the context of colonialism.
It provides an account from a range of historical perspectives by juxtaposing explanatory and interpretive text by ourselves as non-Aboriginal historians; historical sources written by both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal figures; oral history interviews with Aboriginal people; and still and moving images. This methodology enables audiences to interpret the event in a more open-ended
fashion than historical accounts usually allow.

There have been no reviews or other kinds of media attention yet, but the exhibition was commended by the judges for the Digital History category of the 2019 New South Wales Premier’s History Awards “for the quality of its research, scholarship and analysis”.

Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationFairfax Virginia USA
PublisherRoy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media
Media of outputOnline
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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