The uncomfortable truth of racism embedded within 1960s Australian society, set against the backdrop of the Freedom Ride.
Australia 1965. Racial tensions around the country are flaring, and the town of Walgaree is no exception. Robbie just wants to keep his head down, concentrate on his summer mowing job and avoid the wrath of his intolerant family. After all, there’s nothing he can do about how the Aborigines are treated. He’s only one person.
But when a group of university students arrive in Walgaree with the Freedom Ride, Robbie realises it’s time to make a stand. Will he blow up everything he holds dear to change things for the better?
Freedom Ride is a thought-provoking reminder of the past, especially powerful when the Uluru Statement from the Heart calls for a future in which all Australians walk together.
Sue Lawson writes books for children and young adults. Her love for books began when she was a child on a farm in country Victoria where she spent her time reading, writing, listening to her father and grandfather’s stories and avoiding working with the cattle. These days, she's added stationery shops to her football obsession and when not writing, teaches and runs workshops for young people and adults. In 2012, Pan’s Whisper was short-listed for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards, was a Notable Book at the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Awards and won the Australian Family Therapists’ Award for Children’s Literature. You Don’t Even Know was short-listed for the Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards in 2014.
It’s great to see a book for younger readers addressing Indigenous issues, and Australian writer Sue Lawson handles the subject with pathos, honesty and humour.
An honest and well-balanced look at racial tensions in 1965 Australia that shows both the horrifying living conditions and prejudice against Aborigines, and the few brave white men and women demanding change. 4/5 Stars
Brett Michael Orr
At times some of the action is brutal, but I found it a brilliant, evocative and gripping novel.
Lawson has managed to capture a pivotal moment in history that is evocative in every sense, and completely remarkable in every way.
The Book Kat
Sue Lawson’s Freedom Ride is powerful historical fiction that features an important milestone in the development of Aboriginal rights…Lawson pulls no punches when it comes to the violence, prejudice and segregation suffered by Indigenous people. It’s a tale of bravery and resilience in the face of an evil that blighted our history and should never be forgotten.