On Red Earth Walking: The Pilbara Aboriginal Strike, Western Australia 1946–1949 (Australian History) (Paperback)
In 1946 Aboriginal people walked off pastoral stations in Western Australia’s Pilbara region, withdrawing their labour from the economically important wool industry to demand improvements in wages and conditions. Their strike lasted three years. On Red Earth Walking is the first comprehensive account of this significant, unique, and understudied episode of Australian history. 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. 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.
Dr Anne Scrimgeour worked with Pilbara Aboriginal people over many years and undertook extensive research into their history. She worked with senior Ngulipartu man Monty Hale on his bilingual autobiography, Kurlumarniny: We Come from the Desert, and published widely on the Pilbara strike and the Aboriginal cooperative movement that developed from it.