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Memorable marches in Australian history

  • Written byLibby Stewart
  • DateFri, 27 Jan 2017

How protest marches can influence a nation.

International Women's Day, Melbourne, 8 March 1975

Women have marched around the world for a variety of causes for over a century. International Women’s Day marches became more popular in the 1970s as the women’s liberation movement gained momentum.

A black and white photo of a group of women holding protest signs in 1975. Signs say 'sexism is alive and well in Australia' and 'dress for comfort not style'.

Credit: National Library of Australia

Gough Whitlam's sacking, Canberra, 11 November 1975

On 11 November 1975 Governor-General Sir John Kerr sacked the government of Gough Whitlam.

Late in the afternoon of that remarkable day, a defiant Whitlam stood on the front steps of Parliament House and made a memorable speech in front of an angry and vocal crowd.

Lorum ipsum

Credit: National Archives of Australia

Farmers against tax increases, Canberra, 1 July 1985

On 1 July 1985 45,000 farmers gathered in front of Parliament House in one of Canberra’s largest demonstrations to protest taxes on fuel and other taxes imposed on primary producers.

Lorum Ipsum

Credit: MOAD Collection

Protest against the US invasion of Iraq, worldwide, 15 February 2003

On 15 February 2003 Australia was one of numerous countries that collectively held what the Guinness Book of Records has recognised as the largest ever worldwide protest, staged in response to the United States’ invasion of Iraq. In Australia over 200,000 people marched in Melbourne, 100,000 in Adelaide and Brisbane, and smaller marches were held in Canberra, Hobart and Newcastle. The largest march was in Sydney, with around half a million people taking over the city streets. These marches were the largest since the Vietnam moratorium era and have not been repeated since.

Lorum Ipsum

Credit: Newspix