The University of Western Australia

Student Protests - SOS: Save Our Students

SOS: Save Our Students!

As any baby boomer will recall, the late ’60s was a time when students rallied to protest major international events and prevailing conservative attitudes. However, there were also some protests that were directed at situations much closer to home.

In 1967, a 19 year old female student was hit by a car on Stirling Highway and killed. This was the second student fatality in two years, and a number of others had been injured trying to cross the busy road. The students wanted either a bridge or an underpass to prevent future accidents, but lobbying the relevant authorities did not yield a speedy result.

When another student was almost killed under similar circumstances in 1969, the students decided to take direct action. On Friday 28 March 1969, during the afternoon peak hour, students took to Stirling Highway for a “Sit-Down” protest, effectively creating a major roadblock. Some students even took to digging their own tunnel to press their point.

The protest, newspaper articles and supporting letters eventuated in the construction of the underpass which was in use by September 1970 and continues to provide protection to staff and students today.