How did the New South Wales freedom rides change people's views of indigenous Australians?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The confrontation at the Moree Swimming Pool was a watershed moment in changing how people's views of indigenous Australians were changed.  The proverbial collision between an unstoppable force and an immovable object demonstrated itself when the Freedom Ride took a turn in New South Wales.  Adding to the tension of the moment was the presence of the media coverage, recognizing the moment as embodying a significant instant in the history of Australian race relations.

The eventual overcoming of the racial ban in New South Wales was significant in changing the mindset towards indigenous Australians.  In New South Wales, tempers were "high in this encounter," revealing "the extent of racial segregation that prevailed in country towns at the time."  Along these lines, it was evident that there was an "intense cultural difference between the university students from the city and some of the locals whose attitudes and customs were under fire."  The magnitude of both sides and the eventual desegregation of the public facilities in New South Wales helped to trigger the thinking that if change can happen in a place such as this one, then change can be envisioned throughout Australia.  Only through the working of change in the most challenging of conditions could a broad based notion of transformation be realized.  For this reason, the New South Wales Freedom Rides helped to transform people's view of indigenous Australians.