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Paul Coe is a Wiradjuri man. He grew up in Cowra and later moved to Sydney, where he became an activist in many campaigns fighting for human rights and justice for Aboriginal people. He was heavily involved in developing the Black Power Movement from Redfern, inspired by the Black Panther Party in the United States.

In 1970, he was one of the organisers of the George Street march against the Vestey Company, whose Aboriginal stockmen had gone on strike over poor pay and conditions.

Around the same time, Paul helped establish the Aboriginal Legal Service in Redfern, moved by the experiences of Aboriginal people at the hands of the police; he was the first Aboriginal person to study law at the University of NSW. He was also one of the first to establish the Aboriginal Tent Embassy. Paul was very active in the fight for Land Rights and continues to fight for Aboriginal social justice today.

Sydney Elders - Paul Coe
Portrait of Paul Coe Image: Mervyn Bishop
© Australian Museum