Salt Pan Creek – a place of resilience and refuge

In the early 20th century, Salt Pan Creek, located in the Canterbury-Bankstown Region of Sydney, was a centre of the Aboriginal Civil Rights Movement.
78d. [Eight photos from an album showing Aboriginal people at va

Image: Ellen and Hugh Anderson at Salt Pan Creek, circa 1925 (Source: State Library of NSW)

The creek provided natural resources and a means of transport, and crucially, it was freehold land owned by Aboriginal families, allowing them to live free
from government control.

From this focal point of activism and knowledge sharing emerged Joe Anderson, a Dharawal man, who grew up at Salt Pan Creek and became known as King Burraga. In 1933 King Burraga made a speech appealing for Parliamentary representation rights for Aboriginal people.

‘I am calling a corroborree of all the Natives in New South Wales to send a petition to the King, in an endeavour to improve our conditions.’

Joe Anderson, (King Burraga), 1933 

This was likely the first appeal for equality by an Aboriginal person to be recorded on film and is symbolic of the strong legacy of activism by the Aboriginal community in the Salt Pan Creek area.

King Burraga’s work is continued today through the Burraga Foundation, which works in partnership with Aboriginal communities to support cultural awareness, community engagement, education and employment opportunities.