Martin Ballangarry welcomes Freedom Riders (from left) Sylvie Ellsmore, Sandy Jarrett and Samia Hossein in Bowravile
Martin Ballangarry welcomes Freedom Riders (from left) Sylvie Ellsmore, Sandy Jarrett and Samia Hossein in Bowravile

Roll out the red carpet



MARTIN Ballangarry's smile said it all.

What a different reception the 2005 Freedom Riders who rolled into Bowraville yesterday received compared to that given to their 1965 predecessors.

Back then Charles Perkins and 28 students found a town ? its schools, shops and theatre ? deeply divided.

Bowraville resident, Gary Williams, was among the original group of students.

"The atmosphere was very different then," he said.

"Now everyone is smiling and waiting to meet the freedom riders."

Gumbayngirr elder Auntie Shirley Ballangarry agrees.

"Everything changed after the Freedom Ride came to town ," Auntie Shirley said.

"Before they came, we were sent outside to drink milkshakes we bought from the shop."

This time the group was welcomed at the old Mission and then moved on to join school children and communi- ty members at a BBQ, cooked by the Bowraville Lions Club.

The Freedom Ride's co-convenor Sylvie Ellsmore, said after 11 days on the road the group had sadly heard a lot of stories of continuing racism.



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