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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware this website contains images, voices and names of people who have died.

Gough Whitlam pouring a handful of red soil into the hands of Vincent Lingiari, by Mervyn Bishop, 1975

On 23 August 1966, 200 Gurindji stockmen, domestic workers and their families – led by Vincent Lingiari – initiated strike action at Wave Hill station in the Northern Territory. Negotiations with the station owners, the international food company Vestey Brothers, broke down, leading to a seven-year dispute. In August 1975, Prime Minister Whitlam came to Daguragu and ceremonially returned a small portion of Gurindji land to the traditional owners by pouring a handful of soil into Vincent Lingiari’s hand with the words, ‘Vincent Lingiari, I solemnly hand to you these deeds as proof, in Australian law, that these lands belong to the Gurindji people’. This is an iconic photograph of that moment.


Photo: Mervyn Bishop

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