Park now honours Indigenous strikers

Danielle RaffaeleNorth West Telegraph
Njamal chief executive Daniel Brown and his daughter's at the opening of Strike Park
Camera IconNjamal chief executive Daniel Brown and his daughter's at the opening of Strike Park

Descendants of the historical 1940s Pilbara strike to contest the poor living and working conditions of Aboriginal people proudly gathered for an official ribbon cutting ceremony to open Strike Park last weekend.

The ceremony marked the change of name from Leap Park to Strike Park in honour of the Aboriginal Pilbara strikers, following endorsement from the Town of Port Hedland in April 2020.

Decendants of the strikers march down Anderson Street in Port Hedland to mark the renaming of Strike Park
Camera IconDecendants of the strikers march down Anderson Street in Port Hedland to mark the renaming of Strike Park Credit: Picture: Danielle Raffaele

The groundbreaking strike from 1946 to 1949 involved more than 800 pastoral workers from 23 language groups who walked off Pilbara stations to protest low pay and poor living conditions.

Lead by Dooley Bin Bin and Clancy McKenna, two Aboriginal lawmen, and white union activist Don McLeod, the strike paved the way for greater Aboriginal rights and recognition across the nation.

As part of the park’s renaming, signs outlining the history of the strike and its historical relevance have been installed.

The previous name Leap Park referred to the 1995 Land and Environmental Action Plan project to upskill TAFE workers undertaking botanical training.

Local Nyamal man Barry Taylor said he thanked the brave strikers for paving the way for Indigenous rights but that the fight was still ongoing.

Decendants of the strikers march down Anderson Street in Port Hedland for the renaming of Strike Park
Camera IconDecendants of the strikers march down Anderson Street in Port Hedland for the renaming of Strike Park

“We are all here today to commemorate our old people who started this epic journey for equal rights for our people,” he said. “I want to pay my respects to all the brave men women and children involved in the 1946 Pilbara strike. We now reap the benefits and the rewards and benefits of the recognition of those people to give us better wages and better conditions, but the fight is still on.”

Port Hedland Mayor Peter Carter said it was an honour to officially open the park under the new name which he hoped would courage locals to learn more about the history of the town.

“What they did 75 years ago was pivotal in advocating Aboriginal workers and their rights across the country,” he said. “This park is named in honour of those who participated in the strike and its place in history.”

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