60th Anniversary of Strike 57
It became known as Strike 57, an unprecedented five-day strike 60-years ago this month by North Queensland’s Palm Island community for equal rights and social justice.
From the early 1920s until the 1960s, Indigenous Queenslanders from more than 40 language and clan groups were removed from their communities by force to Palm Island, a penal settlement also known as Punishment Island.
In June 1957, Willie Thaiday, Albert Geia, Eric Lymburner, Sonny Sibley, Bill Congoo, George Watson and Gordon Tapau led a 5-day Island-wide strike over working conditions and unpaid wages.
The seven men became known as the Magnificent Seven.
It was an honour to be asked to speak at the commemoration, and I thank the Palm Island community for their resilience and respect in remembering this occasion.