Tickets Please. But which door?

Ticket Box, 1940

Bowraville’s Raymond Theatre opened in 1940. At the time and until its closure in 1965, the picture theatre segregated Aboriginal patrons and non-Aboriginal patrons. Non-Aboriginal patrons sat at the back of the theatre, on plush seats, whilst Aboriginal patrons sat on hard wooden seats at the front of the theatre.

This practice caught the attention of university student and activist Charles Perkins, who together with other student activists targeted the Bowraville Theatre in their 1965 ‘Freedom Ride’. The group traveled across rural New South Wales collecting evidence of segregation and protesting the institutional racism rampant in Australian towns.

In an address given in 2015 to mark the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Ride, Ann Edwards, one of the traditional owners of Gumbaynggirr described her experience of going to the pictures‘… We had to come in through the side gate, get our ticket at the little window, then walk down the side and up a steep set of stairs, only to sit on hard wooden fold-up chairs and every one of us with our heads bent right back to look up at the screen. Some of us would lay on the cold, hard floor to watch the picture…’


When was the original Freedom Ride for Aboriginal Rights in Australia?

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