Aboriginal Embassy symposium

Aboriginal Embassy symposium
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 funded by the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK) with the support of the National Film and Sound Archive, the Museum of Australian Democracy and the Working Group for Aboriginal Rights.

Further details available from:


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

Image courtesy the artist's estate and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney

Date & time

Mon 20 Jun 2011, 1pm – Wed 22 Jun 2011, 1pm


Australian Centre for Indigenous History


Updated:  20 June 2011/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications