Freedom Day Festival - blackfella, whitefella unite as one

To symbolise the granting of a pastoral lease of traditional Gurundji country, Prime Minister Gough Whitlam trickled sand into walk-off leader Vincent Lingiari's hands in a 1975 ceremony.

One morning fifty years ago, our Gurindji elders broke unforgettably from the industry that had taken our land and oppressed us for generations. Envisioning a brighter future for our people, they walked from Lord Vestey’s Wave Hill cattle station into the unknown, and never looked back. The action they took on 23 August 1966 became known as the Wave Hill Walk-off, and changed the face of modern Australia. At our Dreaming place of Daguragu, they fought for Gurindji land rights and built our new home. Today, we ask you to come and celebrate their achievement. Let us share the meaning of the Walk-off with you today. - From the leaders of Daguragu and Kalkaringi communities. Video:


Freedom Day Festival  August 19th - 21st 2016
50 years since Wave Hill Walk Off
Stockmen protest for equal wages
Birth of Aboriginal Land Rights

50 Years | Freedom Day Festival

ngumpin, kartiya karru-la jintaku-la - blackfella, whitefella unite as one

Commemorating fifty years since the Wave Hill Walk Off

Celebrating the birth of Aboriginal Land Rights

Come and share our culture and vision for the future

twitter Freedom Day Festival @freedomday50


Programme (scroll down)

50th Anniversary Freedom Day Festival - Aug 19th - 21st 2016

In 1966, Vincent Lingiari gathered over 200 Gurindji and walked 16 km to Jurnarni (Gordy Creek) and later to Daguragu, a Ngamanpurru (Conkerberry) Dreaming place eight kilometres from Kalkaringi and now an established Gurindji settlement. 'In 1975, after 9 years of persistent campaigning and a change to a more liberal federal government, the then Australian Labor Prime Minister; Gough Whitlam, flew to Daguragu to grant the Gurindji a lease for 3,236 square kilometres of land around Daguragu.
Freedom Day | YouTube


General Festival Enquiries

P 1300 88 50 54

Marketing & Media

John Burgess
Little Rocket
P 03 9014 7735
M 04 0609 2421

Creative Director

Penny Smith
Karungkarni Art and Culture Aboriginal Corporation
P 04 2717 7779

Festival Director

Phil Smith
Gurindji Aboriginal Corporation



Aboriginal people’s 1966 strike and walk-off from British lord’s Northern Territory cattle station became a precursor to land rights legislation almost 10 years later.


The Aboriginal Land Rights Act: The past, present and future 


'If complete Aboriginal control of the key financial institution of land rights was accepted unanimously as a desirable objective in 1984, why is this not the case in 2016? 


’In a battle that has been going on for nearly as long as the existence of the Land Rights Act itself, the Kenbi claim has been the focus of numerous court cases and claim hearings, and hostility from a succession of Northern Territory governments.'



Saturday 20th

Afternoon Concert

Take some time to sit down, unwind and enjoy the beautiful music that we have to offer throughout the afternoons.



Don’t miss a special afternoon set by one of Australia’s most respected singer-songwriter-guitarist and writers. Neil Murray was a founding member of one of the first major rock groups, the Warumpi Band and is responsible for the hit songs ‘My Island Home’ and Blackfella Whitefella’.

Sat: 12pm / Kalkaringi School Stage



Kalkaringi school has a tremendous school music program that has earned a great reputation across the top end. Come down and watch our future stars as they perform their favourite songs.

Sat: 2pm / Kalkaringi School Stage



A veteran of the Australian music scene, Darren Hanlon is a charming and clever songwriter, drawing comparisons to Evan Dando and Billy Bragg. Known for his engagement with his audiences, Hanlon has established himself as a compelling storyteller and prolific songwriter with his observational wit and memorable pop hooks.

Sat: 3.30pm / Kalkaringi School Stage


Dale established his music career in Canberra 1994 with his band the ‘River Bank Band’. His songs is a combination of Aboriginal culture, country rock and sweet harmonies.

 Sat: 5pm / Kalkaringi School Stage


Warrkawarrkap (Dancing) Concert


The Mills children grew up surrounded by music and it wasn’t long before they started to pick up the various musical instruments in the house – guitar, ukulele, mandolin, piano accordion, organ – and began to play. They have since gone on to establish themselves as a Darwin musical institution having supported many famous acts like Harry Secombe, Charlie Pride and Tina Turner and became very well known, performing regularly around Darwin and interstate at various festivals. Their significant contribution to the local music industry was recognised by their induction into the Hall of Fame at

the 2005 NT Indigenous Music Awards.

Sat: 6.30pm - 7.15pm / Warnkurr Concert Stage



Afro Moses is a high-energy stage showman that will blow you away with his unique blend of Afro-fusion - reggae and afro percussion. Hailing from Ghana, West Africa, Afro Moses is a multiaward winning, international artist who has enchanted people over the world with his high energy music, powerful messages, showmanship and colourful stage shows. Be prepared to dance, jump, sing along to these infectious grooves and special tribute performance to Bob Marley and Lucky Dube.

Sat: 7.30pm - 8.15pm / Warnkurr Concert Stage



Melbourne Hip-Hop artists REMI and N’Fa Jones (founding member of 1200 Techniques) are combining their years of experience to bring together a special one-off show for the Freedom Day Festival. They’ve collaborated with some of the biggest names within the industry and racked up numerous awards along the way (Australian Music Award, AIR award for Independent Hip Hop Album of the year in 2015 and an ARIA nomination). These guys sure know how to bring the party and will make everyone feel a part of the show!

Sat: 8.15pm - 9pm / Warnkurr Concert Stage



East Journey is one of Australia’s most promising new and eclectic bands, N.E. Arnhem Land rock sensation and multiaward NIMA winners East Journey. Mentored and encouraged by elders including Yothu Yindi’s Mandaway Yunupingu, East Journey offer a fresh take on music from Arnhem Land. Their music is a blend of Contemporary Acoustic Rock, highlighted with traditional bilma (clapsticks) and yidaki (didgeridoo).

Sat: 9pm - 9.45pm / Warnkurr Concert Stage



Three-time ARIA award winner Dan Sultan returns to his roots to headline the Freedom Day Festival. Dan is Arrernte and Gurindji on his mother’s side and Irish on his father’s. He spent his childhood in remote Yuendumu in the Tanami desert, Cairns in Queensland and Williamstown in Melbourne. After carving a reputation as an inimitable musician with a captivating stage presence, the buzz surrounding Dan Sultan has only grown since he won the 2010 ARIA for Best Male Artist, and the 2014 ARIA for Best Rock Album (Blackbird). We are overjoyed to welcome Dan back to Gurindji country.

Sat: 9.45pm - 10.30pm / Warnkurr Concert Stage



Formed in the 1980’s, North Tanami Band has been a pioneer of the Desert Reggae/Ska sound and has been extremely influential for the current generation of Central Desert bands. Their songs are sung in Warlpiri and English and reflect concerns with the social fabric of their lives, the strength of family and culture, and land and law. Expect a rapturous welcome when these local heroes from Lajamanu (115km south of Kalkaringi) hit the stage and pump out their sweet desert reggae sounds.

Sat: 10.30pm - 11.15pm / Warnkurr Concert Stage



Home grown Gurindji heroes, the Lipanangku Band will take to the stage on Saturday night and bring the audience to its feet with their dynamic mix of desert reggae rock. Words are sung in both English and Gurindji and cover issues regarding their proud culture and the importance of family.

Sat: 11.15pm - 12am / Warnkurr Concert Stage