©2012, 26 MINS
For much of last century, Palm Island was one of a number of reserves established under the infamous Queensland ‘Protection’ Acts. Removed from their tribal lands and forced into hard labour in return for meagre rations, the Aboriginal and Islander inmates were held as virtual prisoners in this tropical paradise. Until one day in 1957 when the community fought back.
Go For Broke relives the Palm Island strike of 1957 through a play written by Dulcie Isaro. As a 15 year old girl, Dulice witnessed her father’s key role as one of the strike leaders and was expelled from Palm along with 6 other familles when the strike was brutally repressed. Still haunted by her memories, Dulcie returned to Palm Island in 1994 only to find that this proud chapter had all but been forgotten.
Determined that the strike not be in vain, Dulcie has waged a one woman battle to have the strikers remembered. First she had a park created on the spot where the strikers gathered, then she had the day made into a public holiday as year after year she kept the memory alive. All the while as she worked on the play, often putting it away in a draw when the memories and emotion became too much.
As the 50 year anniversary arrives, Duclie oversees a celebration unlike any seen on Palm. There will be dances, a photography exhibition and of course the play as the main event. Dulcie’s dream is that the community take the strike into their hearts and unite to celebrate this historic moment in black history and, most importantly, that the next generation carry on the fight for justice and freedom.
Encompassing interviews with the wives of the strikers, their children and grandchildren (including Catherine Freeman) as well as a ground-breaking public apology from Aboriginal and Islander Partnerships Minister Warren Pitt, Go For Broke tells an important and largely unknown story in Australian history and celebrates the importance of fighting for what you believe in and the redemptive power facing the past.