Tensions are running high at The Block across the bridge from our apartment, over land that was given back to the Aborigines in the 1970s now threatened by an A$70 million housing and retail development plan.
The Redfern Aboriginal tent embassy is seven months old and has withstood physical attacks of intimidation, not to mention some some pretty rough weather recently. Apparently, The Block was an important cornerstone of the Aboriginal struggle for justice, especially in the 1960s and 1970s. Thousands of Aboriginals used to live in Redfern; now it is home to fewer than 400. The embassy’s residents’ argument is that the land was earmarked for affordable Aboriginal housing, not private commercial growth.
The embassy was established on National Sorry Day, and the residents have vowed to stay as long as it takes to deter the commercial plans. To be continued.