Untold History of WA: Government’s controversial attempt to ban small gatherings under 54B law

In the minds of many, the late 1960s and early 1970s was a turbulent time.

And that is for valid reasons.

Historian Geoffrey Bolton, in Land of Vision and Mirage, Western Australia since 1826, wrote that protests over national service during the nation’s involvement in the Vietnam War, and growing environmentalism and activism in the early 1970s, ushered in a period of social unrest

Such controversies “suggested that if the ideal of community consensus had ever had validity in Western Australia, it was now on the wane”, Bolton wrote.

Jenny Gregory, in City of Light, A History of Perth since the 1950s, wrote that such unrest was “a reflection of the general social turmoil throughout Australia”.

“Between 1963 and 1967 there had been between 25 and 33 strikes each year in Perth, but in 1969 the number of strikes increased to 125, rising to 257 in 1974, 306 in 1978, and 436 in 1982.”

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