Aboriginal Embassy Symposium - Programme

Aboriginal Embassy, 1986
Robert Campbell Jnr
Synth. polymer paint on canvas
88 x 107.3cm

Monday 20th June - Wednesday 22nd June 2011

Since the Aboriginal Embassy was first erected in front of Old Parliament House on 26 January 1972, it has been a source of inspiration and controversy for Aboriginal people and the general Australian public. As the Embassy approaches its fortieth anniversary, this symposium will examine its historical and political significance.

This is a free public event. Anyone with any association with the Embassy, past or present, is particularly welcome to attend. The symposium will be held in a different venue on each day.


Monday 20 June, 1.00pm-5.00pm

Arc Cinema, National Film and Sound Archive

Screening of 1972 documentary, Ningla A-Na (Cavadini), introduced by Liz McNiven

Break: 2.30-3.00pm


Discussion with activists: Michael Anderson, Isabell Coe, Paul Coe, Pat Eatock and Sam Watson, chaired by Tony Birch.

Further details of this part of the programme available here:

Tuesday 21 June, 9.00am-6.00pm

Members Dining Room, Old Parliament House
9.00am -11.00am

Gordon Briscoe, The Origins of Aboriginal political consciousness and the Aboriginal Embassy, 1907-1972

John Maynard, Tracking Back: The 1920s Australian Aboriginal Progressive Association links to the Aboriginal Tent Embassy

Ann Curthoys, Aboriginal rights and the Cold War: from Paul Robeson's visit in 1960 to the Freedom Ride of 1965

Break: 11.00-11.30am

11.30am- 1.00pm

Tony Birch, The death of the radical will not be televised

Nicole Watson, 'What do we want? Not Native Title that's for bloody sure'

Break: 1.00-2.00pm


Public lecture on the Aboriginal Embassy, speaker to be confirmed

Break: 3.30-4.00pm


Screening of 1992 documentary Tent Embassy, introduced by the director, Frances Peters-Little, followed by discussion.

Further details of this part of the programme available here:

Wednesday 22 June 9.00am-1.00pm

Lecture Theatre 1, Hedley Bull Building (130) ANU

Christopher Vernon, Representing Aboriginality at the National Capital

Jennifer Balint, Reflections on the Aboriginal Tent Embassy Genocide case

Kurt Iveson, Curses, Campfires and Chisels: on the spatial politics of Aboriginal protest in the Parliamentary Triangle

Break: 11.00am-11.30am

11.30am- 1.00pm

Fiona Nicoll, “War by other means?”: Sovereignty and the Aboriginal Tent Embassy

Liz McNiven, The Heritage of the Embassy

Hosted by the ANU Australian Centre for Indigenous History and supported by the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences in association with the National Film and Sound Archive, the Museum of Australian Democracy and the Working Group for Aboriginal Rights.

Further details available from:

Source: ANU