Activity 1d: Outcomes of the 1965 Freedom Ride

The 1965 Freedom Ride brought racial discrimination to the forefront of public debate in Australia and laid the groundwork for a change in the position of Aboriginals in society. Two years after the Freedom Ride a referendum or popular vote, succeeded in removing two discriminatory references to Aboriginals from the Australian Constitution. This meant that for the first time the government could make laws on behalf of Aboriginal people and that they were counted in the census. The Freedom Ride and the subsequent referendum demonstrated the power of young people to take direct action and influence public debate on social justice issues. In this activity, students have the opportunity to reflect on some of the outcomes of the Freedom Ride and to compare this campaign with the campaign to change the Australian Constitution.

Resources Required

  • Freedom Ride Matrix handout
  • film clips from Blood Brothers – Freedom Ride, 1993
    • Clip 1: Have you ever met an Aborigine? (2 min 37 sec)
    • Clip 2: Creating a revolution (2 min 44 sec)
    • Clip 3: Children join the bus (1 min 24 sec)
  • The 1967 Referendum, Education Services Australia Ltd. The National Digital Learning Resources Network digital content R11078.
  • internet and library access
  • completed video role-plays from Activity 1.

Task 1

Students watch the three film clips from Blood Brothers – Freedom Ride, 1993 and use the understandings gained from this task and the previous three activities to complete the Freedom Ride Matrix using keywords that draw on the following prompts:


  • Identify unfair practices that the Freedom Riders wanted to change, for example the discrimination that existed in some New South Wales country towns.


  • Include examples of the strategies used by the Freedom Riders, for example demonstrations and engaging the media.


  • What evidence is there to suggest that life improved for the Aboriginal residents of the towns that were visited by the Freedom Riders?

Task 2 

Students watch videos of their role play responses to the pool ban created as part of Activity 1a. Using the think-pair-share strategy, students reflect on the strategies used by the Freedom Riders, as well as the outcomes that were achieved.

Students consider the following framing questions:

  • What strategies did the Freedom Riders use to get the ban on Aboriginal children swimming at the pool removed?
  • What were the broader goals of the Freedom Riders?
  • Did the Freedom Riders achieve these broader goals?
  • What else needed to be done to fully achieve these broader goals?  
  • Could the Aboriginal children in Moree have done the things you thought of doing to try to get the ban on swimming in the local pool removed?

Task 3

Students explore NDLRN digital resource, The 1967 Referendum (R11078), focusing on the campaign that led up to the referendum. Students compare the Freedom Ride campaign with the campaign for the 1967 referendum.

Activity 1aActivity 1b | Activity 1c | Activity 1d

People Power Introduction1. Aboriginal Rights

Overview of Activities: Focus Question 1 |  Teacher Information