The Brisbane Solidarity Network have produced an excellent squatting handbook for Queenslanders which can be downloaded from here. Their practical and insightful 128 page Crisis guide also provides survival strategies and information for Brisbanites finding themselves without housing or on the edge of homelessness. To download a copy or find out about the group’s campaign work click here.
2009, Brisbane/Ipswich: Brisbane Solidarity Network Homeless Guide and Queensland Squatters Handbook
The economic depression of the 1930s saw thousands of Australians thrown out of their homes and into the streets. These actions however did not go unopposed. Across Australia pickets, occupations and protests were organised to disrupt and prevent evictions and auctions. Where these failed some took matters into their own hands wrecking the properties of landlords and real estate agents in revenge. This pamphlet, originally written in 1998 and updated ten years later, chronicles just some of the many struggles that took place. It includes a chronology of actions as well as photos and quotes from those involved providing an insight into the events of the time. It can be downloaded here. A history walk and podcast visiting some of the key sites of unemployed and eviction campaigns in Brunswick can be accessed here.
Woolloomooloo anti eviction rally, Sydney early 1930s
Some squatting related stickers and posters contributed by Ann.
Synopsis from amazon.com: Rejected by suburbia for being a freak, Agro finds acceptance in the Melbourne hardcore punk scene of the 1980’s, where mates and music are everything. Moving from squat to squat she and her friends survive thugs, prostitute rings, police raids, bikie gangs and thieving speed addicts. Despite the bleakness of their lifestyle they live by a code of loyalty, one that is all important and separate from the world that rejected Agro. In her desperate struggle for acceptance she is drawn back to her violent past. Only this time being a freak is no disadvantage. Fly is the beginning to a disturbingly real saga set in an underground world that slams to a genuine Melbourne beat with real bands, real venues and real attitude.
Despite serving as a community hub housing ten people, a free shop and a free cafe the People’s castle in Redfern was evicted by the City of Sydney in 2010. The city then took another year and a half to open the homeless shelter it had promised during the eviction. Meanwhile the squatters moved onto another abandoned property where they continued to live sustainably.
Inner West Courier Story, 30/11/10:
Eight squatters currently living in an abandoned council property in Redfern have vowed to resist efforts to evict them, as another deadline given to them by the City of Sydney passed without a peep from council officers today.
According to Carven Lee, who lives in the building, the group was told they had until 10am this Tuesday morning to leave the premises.
“This is our third eviction notice,’’ she said. Read more
After 3 months occupation of a disused student college owned by the Catholic church a group of Sydney squatters were evicted in September 2011. For more on the squat check out this page.
A 2001 interview with Predator about Sydney’s Broadway squats and squatting in general.
From Sydney Indymedia:
“In 1997, Predator helped set up Catalyst, a radical community activist tech collective in Sydney, Australia. They went on to provide information technology services for a wide range of activist and commmunity based organisations around both Sydney and Australia. In the process, knowledge was shared, skills were learned and taught – from building and maintaining hardware to writing computer code. It was from this original initiative that an open-posting model of web publishing was developed for the J18 protest that occured worldwide in 1999. The codebase was named ‘Active’ and went on to power the first Indymedia site. As they say, “the rest is history.”
However, Predator’s influence extended further. An Urban Explorer, he was a part of the Cave Clan – whose membership extends around Australia and internationally – and found the Sydney Cave clan branch. The tribe has, over the years, explored literally thousands of miles of underground passage ways, drains, mines and other components of the urban vasculature. Amongst other things, Predator was also a dumpster diver, anarcho syndicalist, molecular biologist, squatter, and well known good guy.”
Predator passed away after a battle with renal cancer in 2004.
A couple of reports from Indymedia about punk gigs hosted in disused spaces.
Punks Not Dead – Melbourne punk bands reclaim unused spaces for shows
Almost 35 years since punk hit independent bands in Melbourne, Australia are still keeping the punk spirit alive. They are are saying F*@% you! to the main stream venues around that charge high prices for drinks, large entrance fees and make bands jump through hoops to play by running their own shows in unused spaces.
I recently attended a show put on under a bridge in North Melbourne that was organised and put on by The Flying Rats. A crazy punk/ska band that regularly practices in a squatted band room in the middle of an abandoned factory in Glenferrie. The gig was free to attend, BYO drinks (although there was a lot of home brew being passed around) and had a feeling of community that has been missing at most shows I have been too lately.
The show was run of a generator provided by The Flying Rats, played through a P.A. provided by one of the other bands, Dixon Cider, and the instruments and amps were provided by all manner of people there. A few bands were lined up to play then people just jumped on and played as they felt like it. This DIY environment and laid back attitude has been missing in recent years with many people being more concerned with fashion or who is more punk. It is refreshing to see these ideas thrown out the window and people just getting back into having a good time.
During the 1970s a large number of squats were set up in properties purchased and subsequently left empty by the Department of Main Roads in Sydney. Amongst the variety of creative projects that came out of this community was this report and proposal for cooperative housing. Prepared by Greg Vickas, Paula Fairbairn, Helen Pellow, Petra Playfair and Peter Collingwood for the Aquarius Youth Service, a section of the then Australian Union of Students.