Tent Embassy history focus on ABC's 'Awaye' program

AUDIO DOWNLOAD Audio file ABC TV 'Awaye' - Fire in the belly Tent Embassy mp3
AUDIO DOWNLOAD Audio file ABC TV 'Awaye' - December 10th episode Full Program mp3

ABC TV 'Awaye'

Broadcast:Saturday 10 December 2011 6:05pm
Repeated: Monday 12th

Presented by Daniel Browning

Fire in the belly Aboriginal Tent Embassy
Since the Aboriginal Tent Embassy was first erected in front of what is now Old Parliament House in Canberra on the 26th of January 1972 it has been a source of inspiration and controversy. As the Tent Embassy approaches its 40th anniversary, key activists of 1972 have come together for a symposium to examine its historical significance.

The Aboriginal Tent Embassy has been the catalyst for other protest 'embassies' around Australia, most recently the Tent Embassy at the site of the proposed Kimberley gas hub marking 100 days of a community blockade. But what is the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in the national capital today, who resides there and what does it stand for?

Aboriginal Embassy, 1972

Late on Australia Day 1972, three young Aboriginal men erected a beach umbrella on the lawns outside Parliament House in Canberra and put up a sign which read 'Aboriginal Embassy'. Over the following months, supporters of the embassy swelled to 2000. When the police violently dismantled the tents and television film crews captured the violence for the evening news, an outraged public expressed its disgust to the federal government.

This political action was initiated and implemented by Aboriginal activists. The site became known as the Aboriginal Tent Embassy. It was a powerful symbol. The original owners of the land set up an 'embassy' opposite the parliament, as if they were foreigners. This act showed compellingly the strength of their sense of alienation. They were landless. Their embassy was a tent - a well understood image of poverty and impermanence. Their camp attracted unprecedented support from people across the country who recognised their sense of grievance and made their views known to the government.
indigenousrights.net.au/a> (National Museum of Australia)