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Student activism at the University of New England in Australia’s “long 1960s”

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In November 1973, a group of students at the University of New England (UNE) in rural Armidale, New South Wales, staged a “peasants’ revolt” to protest the examination system. The protest, which involved up to 400 students and culminated in the successful occupation of UNE’s main administration building, was organised by the Socialist Action Movement (SAM), the most prominent student group at UNE, and arguably the most successful far-left group on any Australian campus at that time. This article considers student activism at UNE in the early 1970s as a case study illustrating that intramural issues such as assessment methods, university government and student housing, far from being a sideline to more “political” external issues such as the Vietnam War, were in fact critical drivers—and shapers—of cultural and political dissent among students. Building on the work of Hannah Forsyth, the article argues that focusing on the intramural concerns of students reveals much about the aims, meanings and long-term significance of New Left student activism during Australia’s “Long 1960s”




Murphy, K. (2019). Student activism at the University of New England in Australia’s “long 1960s.” Journal of Australian Studies, 43(2), 174–187.

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