'A Fight for Survival' debuts 7 May at Meat Market in North Melbourne

Victoria University is proud to support the Northlands Collective Mob to mark a landmark moment in Australian history: a fight to save a secondary college known for embracing Indigenous ways of learning and knowing.

A Fight for Survival is a 90-minute ‘political cabaret’ – a theatre production that depicts the three-year fight to keep the Northland Secondary College open, driven by Gumbaynggir activist and VU academic Professor Gary Foley.

Professor Foley and Dr Clare Land of VU’s Moondani Balluk Indigenous Academic Unit are working with the Northlands Collective Mob, including Lyn Thorpe and Jill Morgan, to bring history to the stage as a special commission of the 2021 Yirramboi First Nations Festival.

This largely untold story brings to life the true meaning of community, justice and resistance, and spotlights the tenacity of First Nations children and community members such as Professor Foley’s son, Bruce, and Muthama Sinnappan, as they fought to save their school nearly 30 years ago.

The pair lodged a complaint with the Equal Opportunity Board in 1992 claiming that the Victorian Government’s decision to shut down the school was an act of indirect racial discrimination.

Celebrating identity & resilience

Three years and one hell of a fight later, the Northland community won the case and the school was re-opened in 1995.

The Northland Secondary College story is a culturally-relevant look at an important piece of Aboriginal history important to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people for its recognition of identity, resilience and celebration.

The production highlights why the school meant so much to so many, and why it was named in the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody as a positive model and way of working in furthering the aspirations of Aboriginal people.

Featuring a cast from many nations, including numerous people who were involved with the school and the case itself, awarded artists, and emerging talent, A Fight for Survival is not to be missed.

Unique materials from the Aboriginal History Archive at VU will feature in the production.

Attend the show

Where: Meat Market Flat Floor Pavilion, North Melbourne, 1 Blackwood Street

When: Friday 7 May, Saturday 8 May, Sunday 9 May at 7pm

Buy tickets online

Media contact

Ann Marie Angebrandt
External media
+61 3 9919 5487 or mobile: +61 401 100 576