The women who made 'herstory' at Pine Gap


Remembering Pine Gap: Women's Peace Camp, November 1983
An exhibition from the archives of Jesse Street National Women's Library
NSW Parliament House, Sydney
Until September 24

The Pine Gap peace camp in 1983 was an important initiative by Women for Survival to make Australians' opposition to the spy base — the joint US and Australian facility — known the world over.

Inspired by the actions of the Greenham Common women in Britain, about 800 women and their supporters (and, in some cases, children) made "herstory" when they converged at this remote site, west of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory.

Australia's Cold War defence policy, closely aligned to the US, prompted a groundswell of opposition to war, and in particular the use of nuclear weapons.

It brought tens of thousands into the streets on Palm Sunday peace marches across the nation later in that decade.

The convergence on Pine Gap, the first on such a scale (there had been a protest at the spy base Nurrangar, in South Australia, in the 1970s), was spearheaded by anti-nuclear and anti-war women activists, some of whom attended the exhibition opening.

The posters, banners, badges and even minutes from the collectives cheers up the otherwise dull visitors' area at the NSW Parliament House. Presented on the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Jesse Street National Women's Library, this is an inspiring exhibition for older and younger activists alike.