It’s a long hot summer in 1965, and Walgaree, NSW, is cracking under the heat… and the racial tensions between whites and blacks are also reaching breaking point. Fifteen-year-old Robbie is trying to stand tall between his oppressive home life, his new job at the caravan park with Barry, Keith Wright’s perpetual tauntings and his coworker Micky from the Aboriginal settlement – and then the Freedom Ride comes to town.
Based on the historical events of the Freedom Rides led by Charles Perkins, which travelled around country NSW to research and protest the living conditions of Aboriginal Australians, this is an excellent novel for teens 14+ and adults. (I don’t know of any other fiction which looks at the Freedom Rides.) The dialogue is true, the relationship between black and white Australians is revealing and still entirely relevant, and the pace doesn’t let up. A great book, highly recommended.
Freedom Ride – Sue Lawson – PB – Black Dog Books – $17.95