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On 26 January 1972 four Aboriginal men Billie Craigie, Michael Anderson, Bertie Williams & Tony Coorey set up a beach umbrella on the lawns opposite Parliament House in Canberra. Describing the umbrella as the Aboriginal Embassy, the men were protesting the McMahon government’s approach to Aboriginal Land Rights.

The Embassy operated in a number of locations and took many forms before its permanent establishment on those same lawns in 1992.

The goals of protesters have also changed over time, and now include not only land rights but also Aboriginal sovereignty and self-determination.


Paul Coe addressing Opposition Leader Gough Whitlam in 1972