Freedom Day Festival - blackfella, whitefella unite as one

Wajarra dance ceremony - Wajarra are songs in the traditional Gurindji musical style about contemporary events rather than the Dreaming and reflect how Aboriginal peopleresponded to the new pastoral economy.

One morning fifty years ago, our Gurindji elders broke unforgettably from the industry that had taken our land and oppressed us for generations. Envisioning a brighter future for our people, they walked from Lord Vestey’s Wave Hill cattle station into the unknown, and never looked back. The action they took on 23 August 1966 became known as the Wave Hill Walk-off, and changed the face of modern Australia. At our Dreaming place of Daguragu, they fought for Gurindji land rights and built our new home. Today, we ask you to come and celebrate their achievement. Let us share the meaning of the Walk-off with you today. - From the leaders of Daguragu and Kalkaringi communities. Video:


Freedom Day Festival  August 19th - 21st 2016
50 years since Wave Hill Walk Off
Stockmen protest for equal wages
Birth of Aboriginal Land Rights

50 Years | Freedom Day Festival

ngumpin, kartiya karru-la jintaku-la - blackfella, whitefella unite as one

Commemorating fifty years since the Wave Hill Walk Off

Celebrating the birth of Aboriginal Land Rights

Come and share our culture and vision for the future

twitter Freedom Day Festival @freedomday50


Programme (scroll down)

50th Anniversary Freedom Day Festival
- Aug 19th - 21st 2016
In 1966, Vincent Lingiari gathered over 200 Gurindji and walked 16 km to Jurnarni (Gordy Creek) and later to Daguragu, a Ngamanpurru (Conkerberry) Dreaming place eight kilometres from Kalkaringi and now an established Gurindji settlement. 'In 1975, after 9 years of persistent campaigning and a change to a more liberal federal government, the then Australian Labor Prime Minister; Gough Whitlam, flew to Daguragu to grant the Gurindji a lease for 3,236 square kilometres of land around Daguragu.
Freedom Day | YouTube


General Festival Enquiries

P 1300 88 50 54

Marketing & Media

John Burgess
Little Rocket
P 03 9014 7735
M 04 0609 2421

Creative Director

Penny Smith
Karungkarni Art and Culture Aboriginal Corporation
P 04 2717 7779

Festival Director

Phil Smith
Gurindji Aboriginal Corporation



Aboriginal people’s 1966 strike and walk-off from British lord’s Northern Territory cattle station became a precursor to land rights legislation almost 10 years later.


The Aboriginal Land Rights Act: The past, present and future 


'If complete Aboriginal control of the key financial institution of land rights was accepted unanimously as a desirable objective in 1984, why is this not the case in 2016? 


’In a battle that has been going on for nearly as long as the existence of the Land Rights Act itself, the Kenbi claim has been the focus of numerous court cases and claim hearings, and hostility from a succession of Northern Territory governments.'



Friday 19th








Rayella is a family band from Marlinja Community, located approximately 730 kilometers south of Darwin in the remote Northern Territory of Australia. Lead singer Eleanor’s magical voice paired with her father’s skillful guitar playing and harmonising, captivate audiences with their honest, emotive tunes about family, country and culture. Eleanor has assumed an important role as a strong Indigenous female leader sharing her messages and stories to empower other females of all ages to feel confident and proud to step – up and chase whatever their dreams and goals in life may be.




Fri: 7.00pm - 7.45pm / Warnkurr Concert Stage










Fri: 7.45pm - 8.15pm / Warnkurr Concert Stage











Kimberley country–rock band, Fitzroy Xpress have been playing for over 30 years from their home town of Fitzroy Crossing, with songs about life in the Kimberley. Fronted by singer songwriter Danny Marr, with family members Victor Marr and Waylon Marr and friends Alan McCarty and Daron Keogh, the music is an infectious mix of country rock-pop

sometimes with a swing feel.


Fri: 8.15pm - 9.00pm / Warnkurr Concert Stage







Tjupi (Honey Ant) come from Papunya and play energetic and emotive desert reggae. Singing in Luritja as well as English, they are a musical inspiration for people across Central Australia. Growing up learning from family members of Warumpi Band, they form part of the new wave of uniquely Indigenous Australian reggae. Mentored by the famous Sammy Butcher, the band takes over where Warumpi Band finished.


Fri: 9.00pm - 9.45pm / Warnkurr Concert Stage






Shane Howard, founding member and former lead singer of Goanna, combines a deep understanding of poetic and musical folk traditions, whilst capturing something essential to the spirit of Australia in words and music. Howard’s Solid Rock, topped the charts back in 1982 with its powerful lyrics, throwing a spotlight on the injustices facing Aboriginal Australians. His message remains relevant and his work has never lost its drive.

Warnkurr Concert Stage / Fri: 9.45pm - 10.30pm




Lonely Boys are a hard rock band from the remote Arnhemland community of Ngukurr. They are a six piece virtuosic guitar inspired rock band. The band has been playing in their local community for the past five years and performed at various regional venues. In 2006 Lonely Boys won the Barunga Battle of the bands competition, this was no easy task given the quality of the performers at that years festival.

Fri: 10.30pm - 11.15pm / Warnkurr Concert Stage





Lajamanu Teenage Band exploded onto the national music scene over 20 years ago as a pioneer of the distinctive desert reggae sound. With feature articles in Rolling Stone Australia, gigs all over the Central Desert and Top End, as well as East Coast tours and reviews. Get set for an epic show as these local legends from Lajamanu (115km south of Kalkaringi) brings everyone to their feet to belt out their songs and dance the night away!

Fri: 11.15pm - 12.00am / Warnkurr Concert Stage