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  The Anti­Nuclear
  Campaign

...All we managed to do was — with a police permit — walk one woman alone on each side of the road, wearing slogans on jerkins between two set street corners for a set, very limited period. It was not an easy task when not only the police but the public were rather hostile.
(Eva Bacon, The Union of Australian Women in Queensland: Some Personal Recollections. UQFL241, Box 13)

As Cold War tensions escalated in the 1950s, many women within the peace movement became involved in the anti­nuclear campaign. One area of concern was the creation of nuclear and foreign military bases in Australia. Norma Chalmers, Secretary of the QPC, was involved in organising a protest in Fortitude Valley in 1963 while a Bill for the establishment of the Exmouth Gulf Telecommunications base was debated in Canberra. At a time when peace was a 'dirty word' and it was unpopular to protest, the QPC reminded protesters to carry four pennies to be able to phone the office in case of any counter-demonstration.

Twenty years later in central Australia, 700 Indigenous and white women from across the country established a peace camp at Pine Gap to protest against the US intelligence base. On 11 November 1983, two hundred Aboriginal women led other activists in a display of unity to the gates of Pine Gap where they held eleven minutes silence to commemorate the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. At least two women from Queensland were arrested and allegedly subjected to police brutality.

Queensland women were also alarmed at French nuclear testing in the South Pacific. Organised in the mid 1960s, the Aldermaston Relay Walk from Ipswich to Brisbane highlighted the main target areas in Brisbane if war ever eventuated. With the nuclear testing zone only 7,240 kilometres east of Brisbane, women were concerned for the health and well-being of their children and potential radioactive fallout on agriculture. Anger was also directed towards the mining and export of uranium in Australia which, it was argued, fed nuclear arms projects overseas.




TOP TO BOTTOM
 
1. Permit for the 1963 anti-nuclear base protest in Wickham Street, Fortitude Valley, allowing one person to wear a white calico jerkin with the words ‘no nuclear bases in Australia’ on the front and back. (UQFL193, Box 12, Folder: Nuclear Bases in Australia)
 
2. Photograph of UAW members, Lila Baker, Jenny Prohaska and Heather Haub, holding placards in protest over the Pine Gap installation in Central Australia. (UQFL193, Box 17, Folder 1)
 
3. Photograph of unknown contingent of women leave for the Peace Camp in Pine Gap in 1983. (UQFL193, Box 21, Photo Album, p. 6)
 
4. Cover of WILPF Star newsletter protesting against Pine Gap. (UQFL251, Box 3, Folder 8)
 
5. A 1964 leaflet produced by the QPC on the Aldermaston walk from Ipswich to Brisbane. The forty-kilometre walk was organised as a relay to highlight the social and environmental impact of nuclear tests in the Pacific. It graphically illustrates the effects of a small nuclear bomb detonating over the south east of the state. (UQFL193, Box 12, Folder: Leaflets)
 
6. Sticker illustrating a popular slogan against nuclear weapons and uranium mining. (UQFL156, Box 29)
 
7. Flyer produced by the WILPF illustrating the welfare of children was a primary concern among many women in the peace movement. (UQFL251, Box 3, Folder 3)
 
8. Montage of anti-nuclear stickers and badges. (UQFL241, Box 1, Folder: Peace and UQFL 193, Box 24)