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Bower Studio build for Wave Hill Walk-off Anniversary

The pavilion at Jinbarak (Wave Hill Station). Photo: Sara Brocklesby.

Tuesday September 13, 2016

Bower Studio, led by the University of Melbourne’s Dr David O’Brien, had just two weeks in May to build three four-metre high steel and iron pavilions in 38 degree heat.

Two years in the making, the Wave Hill Walk-off project has brought together six designers, 12 students, eight labourers and the Gurindji people of Kalkarindji and Daguragu in the Northern Territory to give physical form to remembering the birth of Australia’s Indigenous land rights movement.

The 50th anniversary of the Wave Hill Walk-off was celebrated at the Freedom Day Festival, where the Bower Studio pavilions were launched. Tourists used them for the first time as they walked the original trail. With Indigenous tourism in its infancy, Kalkarindji is a focal point of efforts to grow the industry.

On the 23rd of August 1966, an unprecedented 200 Gurindji, Mudburra and Walpiri stockmen, domestic workers, their elders and children walked off the Wave Hill Station in protest, unable to continue on criminally low wages, starvation rations, no housing and the constant violence meted out by the wealthy station owners.

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