Using extensive and previously unsourced archival evidence, Anne Scrimgeour interrogates earlier historical accounts of the strike, delving beneath the strike’s mythology to uncover the rich complexity of its history. The use of Aboriginal oral history places Aboriginal actors at the centre of these events, foregrounding their agency and their experiences. Scrimgeour provides a lucid examination of the system of colonial control that existed in the Pilbara prior to the strike, and a fascinating and detailed account of how these mechanisms were gradually broken down by three years of striker activism. Amid Cold-war fears of communist subversion in the north, the prominence of communists among southern supporters and the involvement of a non-Aboriginal activist, Don McLeod, complicated settler responses to the strike. This history raises provocative ideas around racial tensions in a pastoral settler economy, and examines political concerns that influenced settler responses to the strike, to create a nuanced and engaging account of this pivotal event in Australian Indigenous and labour histories.
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