Waterdale Road anti-Vietnam war demonstrations

Proudly untraditional

Memories of the Waterdale Road Vietnam protest marches, September 1970

Waterdale Road protest marches part 1

Part 1

The Waterdale Road protest marches against America's war in Vietnam took place on 11, 16 and 23 September 1970 in the Melbourne northern suburb of West Heidelberg. Waterdale Road ran off the campus grounds of La Trobe University, Bundoora, and consisted of a light industrial zone as well as Housing Commission residences.

The first march, with 70 students, was violently suppressed by police. In response, students organised another march on the 16th. Attended by about 400, and with media and independent observers in attendance, the police again attacked, making arrests and bashing and injuring students.

Listen to Part 1 of the interviews on Barry York's YouTube channel.

 

Waterdale Road protest marches part 2

Part 2

The Waterdale Road Vietnam protest marches took place in West Heidelberg, Melbourne, on 11, 16 and 23 September 1970. The first one, attended by about 70 students from La Trobe University, was violently broken up by police.

The second march, in defiance of state repression, took place on 16 September and is the subject of this brief documentary. It draws on the reminiscences and reflections of four participants - Brian Pola, Larry Abramson, Robbo Bennetts and Peter Cochrane - recorded by Barry York for an oral history project about the demonstrations.

Fifty years on, the Waterdale Road marches remain significant as part of the struggle for free speech and the right to protest in Australia.

Listen to Part 2 of the interviews on Barry York's YouTube channel.

Waterdale Road protest marches part 3

Part 3

On 23 September, 1970, 800 La Trobe University students and supporters defiantly took to Waterdale Road again; this time in protest against police brutality and as an assertion of the right to march in protest against government policy.

The police had violently attacked two previous demonstrations along the road, on 11 and 16 September. The third march was a great success, a victory for free speech and the right to march.

The video includes excerpts from oral history interviews with Barry York, Robbo Bennetts, Peter Cochrane and Ken White.

Listen to Part 3 of the interviews on Barry York's YouTube channel.