What can we learn from Vincent Lingiari?  

This is a story of how patience and perserverance can produce extraordinary results.

For those of you who dont know of Vincent’s legacy, it was popularised by Paul Kelly’s powerful and important track “From Little Things Big Things Grow”.

It tells a story of Vincent Lingiari and the Gurindji people’s courage, perserverance and sacrifice over 8 years to achieve a result.

Most people dont get what they want out of life, not because they set their goals too high and miss, but because they set them too low and hit.

So listen up, hopefully it can serve as a reminder of what you can achieve with a bit of perserverance and backbone.

For context, Vesti Company was one of the largest landowners in the world, they acquired large amounts of land for cattle stations across australia purchased from the Govt in late 1800’s

This land was taken by force, police stations were constructed to kill many of the aborginal men, the women were often raped, families broken.

One such Cattle station, the Wave Hill was were Lingiari and the Gurindji people worked as slaves for rations, routinely beaten, treated worse than animals.

The world was against Vincent, hes a slave, no money, and this was all legal, he had no outs…

On August 23, 1966 Lingiari said “Fuck this” and decided to make a stand…. 

He led the workers and their families off Wave Hill Station and began a strike.

They camped at nearby Wattie Creek.

No-one took them seriously, it was simply a ploy for slightly better conditions or some wages…  

Vesti company tried offering money, better conditions, threats, you name it but Vincent said no thanks, we want something much more, we arent moving until we get our land back. 

The plight of the Gurindji gathered national attention, thanks to the work of Mandela, Dr King etc, human rights, black rights was on the agenda.

 8 long years went by, 8 years of perserverance, government interferance, police brutality and a never give up attitude and Lingiari and the Gurindji had won!

 The Whitlam government negotiated a deal with Vesti Group to return much of their land.

Imagine what you can achieve in 8 months, let alone 8 years!

The moral of the story is Make a stand and never forget,  “From Little things, Big things grow.”

James Killen