A groundswell of support for the “yes” vote at Beaufort Street, Perth on Labour Day 1966. People lined the street.

It has been 50 years since the 1967 Referendum where Australians overwhelming voted to amend the constitution, allowing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to be counted in the census, and to be subject to Commonwealth laws rather than an array of state laws.

Voters recorded the largest “yes” vote – 90.77% – in any Australian referendum. Fremantle had one of Western Australia’s highest “yes” votes at 81.8%.

A new display called Right Wrongs: ’67 Referendum – WA 50 years on is now open at the WA Maritime Museum marking the 50th anniversary of the historic Referendum and giving local context to the vote and its influence on the community and its future.

The exhibition title is drawn from the slogan used during the 1967 Referendum campaign, “Right Wrongs, Write Yes”.

Western Australian Museum CEO Alec Coles said the exhibition is part of the Museum’s contribution to the 1967 Referendum commemorations in partnership with the State Library of Western Australia and the Department of Aboriginal Affairs.

“The central exhibition is on display at the State Library of WA in Perth, telling Western Australian stories that explore the long history of Aboriginal activism from Aboriginal peoples’ perspectives,” Mr Coles said.

“Through local voices, the satellite exhibitions at the WA Maritime Museum, Museum of the Goldfields, Museum of Geraldton, and Museum of the Great Southern look to the past and the future, exploring personal reflections of the 1967 Referendum’s significance and meanings. The exhibition recognises the many aspirations that have been met since the Referendum, but acknowledges that social disadvantage still exists.”

The Department of Aboriginal Affairs’ educational toolkit Right Wrongs: ’67 Referendum – WA 50 years on is available online to assist educators to raise awareness and understanding with their students about the Referendum and other connected historical events.

WA Museum visitors can see Right Wrongs: ’67 Referendum – WA 50 years on during the following display periods:

WA Maritime Museum, 26 May – 16 July 2017

Museum of the Goldfields, 28 May – 1 September 2017

Museum of Geraldton, 28 May – 3 September 2017

Museum of the Great Southern, 28 May – 30 June 2017



Media contact
Sharna Craig
Media and Publicity Officer
Western Australian Museum