Police officers had been at the forefront of the state’s repressive control over Aboriginal people in the Pilbara before the strike, but this letter illustrates the strikers’ assertive responses to police intimidation. It was written to the Committee for Defence of Native Rights by Tommy Sampie, who corresponded regularly with the Committee to keep southern supporters informed of developments in the strike. It refers to efforts by the police to shift Warrawagine strikers from the Twelve Mile back to the Marble Bar district.

A First Hand Report on Police Persecution of Aborigines

Tommy Sampie, ‘A first hand report on police persecution of Aborigines’, 10 February 1947, SROWA, 1943/0621/31.

Related Sources

Caroline Jula, Striking from Warrawagine Station

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During the second half of 1946, groups and individuals walked off stations and other workplaces to join the strike camps. Caroline Jula, who had worked as a domestic servant at Warrawagine station, joined the strike camp at Moolyella in late 1946.

The Western Australian Department of Native Affairs tried repeatedly and persistently to end the strike and return workers to stations. The strikers held out, however, using successful non-violent strategies to maintain their stand.