Vincent Lingiari Memorial
CBD, Darwin NT
2021 Winner: Best Monument or Memorial
A tribute to a very special Australian and a story that every other Australian should know.
Vincent Lingiari AM (13 June 1908 – 21 January 1988) was an Aboriginal rights activist and member of the Gurindji people. In his early life he started as a stockman at Wave Hill Station, where indigenous workers were ‘paid’ in rations, tobacco and clothing. After the owners of the station refused to improve pay and conditions in 1966, Lingiari was elected and became the leader of the workers. He led 200 of his people in the Wave Hill Walk-off, also known as the Gurindji strike. It was the longest strike in Australian history, lasting nine years.
It ended with a federal government agreement to hand a small portion of the Wave Hill Station back to the Gurindji people on a 30-year lease, and that agreement was cemented during an emotional ceremony in 1975. To symbolise the land transfer, then Prime Minister Gough Whitlam picked up a handful of the local red dirt and poured it into Vincent’s hands. Australian Native Title law was born.
So, the Wave Hill Walk-off eventually resulted in the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976, which in turned formed the basis for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to apply for freehold title of traditional lands throughout the country. That is important because it ensures the traditional owners hold the power to negotiate mining and other development incursions on the land.
In 1976 Lingiari was named a Member of the Order of Australia. Two years after he passed came the first national memorial with Vincent’s life celebrated in the Paul song "From Little Things Big Things Grow". Now, another tribute to Vincent’s life and achievements has been nationally recognised with the granting of this award.
Created as part of the Darwin Street Art Festival, it was painted by local Territory artist Jesse Bell.
Where? Bennett Street, opposite the ABC Darwin buand evening is stunning.
When? Morning light on the mural makes is special, as does night light. As for what time of year, the peak tourist season is the Dry Season - from June to September when it is cooler and less humid.
Darwin Street Art Festival: