Australia has a long association with environmental protests, with many rare and unique materials to be found in the National Library’s collection. Environmental protests have branched out to have several different sub-categories and movements of their own. In this section, we will focus on what the Library has material to support and provide information on. Below you will find information about the Franklin Dam Blockade, Anti-Mining protests (such as Stop Adani), and Climate Action protests (such as School Strike 4 Climate).
Franklin Dam Blockade
From December 1982 to March 1983, protestors gathered to stop the damming of Franklin River in Tasmania; known as the Franklin Dam Blockade. The National Library holds some interesting material from and about the Franklin Dam Blockade.
For example, the Library holds an audio recording of Tim O'Loughlin and Angie McGowan interviewed by Rob Willis in its collection. Tim O'Loughlin and Angie McGowan were participants in the protest and were amongst those who were sent to gaol for blocking construction.
We also hold photographs by Peter Dombrovskis taken around the time of the protest, such as the image above, which became known as the ‘photo that saved the Franklin River’. We also hold song books from the Franklin Dam protestors. The Franklin River blockade songbook. Vol. II is one such example, having been produced by the Tasmanian Wilderness Society, another key player in the Blockade.
Through these sources you can gain an understanding of the conflicting social and political views at the time, alongside the rising importance of environmental matters to government.
- Franklin Dam Blockade
- Franklin River protests
- Peter Dombrovskis Franklin River
- Save Franklin River
- Ephemera Franklin River
Opinions about mining in Australia have changed greatly over time and have become one of the most contested topics in the nation. As such the National Library has collected various materials that have been created for anti-mining protests. Two of the most prominent movements in our collection are that of the ‘Stop Adani’ and ‘No Coal Seam Gas’ protests.
One of the more unique items in the Library’s collection, is the Stop Adani Alliance webpage. The webpage is stored on the Australian Web Archive on Trove and allows you to view a historical snapshot of the website. Most useful on the Stop Adani Alliance page is the news tab, which give context to the events relating to the protest.
The photographs by Dean Sewell are another great source from our collection. Dean is an Australian photographer who is famous for his documentation of social issues across the world. The Library holds a great collection of his photographs, many of which feature an opposition to coal mining and fossil fuels.
Listed below are some useful search terms to begin your research through our Catalogue. Keep in mind that the titles for material may not necessarily link clearly to your movement. You may be more successful if you search more broadly.
- No Coal Seam Gas Australia
- Stop Adani
- Carmichael coal mine
- Dean Sewell
Climate Action Protests
Climate action protests are another environmental movement that has seen an increase over the past decades, with the impacts of climate change becoming more visible. Information about Climate Action protests can be found in the Library’s collection, with materials from as early as the mid-nineteen nineties to as recent as this year.
The most notable interesting material for these protests come from our pictures collection. The National Library holds a range of photographs and posters that were created out of the different climate action protests. Some of this material can be found online on Trove, alongside with climate change archived websites found on the Australian Web Archive.
- School Strike 4 Climate
- Extinction Rebellion
- Climate Action Now
- Climate Action
It is important to remember that historically where there has been action in relation to social and environmental change, researchers can also typically find evidence of counter protest in response. For example, in 2011 the public opposition to the introduction of carbon pricing scheme in Australia culminated in an Anti-Carbon Tax rally at Parliament House. The National Library has original photographs of protesters and their placards from the ‘Convoy of No Confidence’ in Canberra as well as the Anti-Carbon Tax rally at Hyde Park in Sydney.