A Fight for Survival

Eban Roach, Lyn Thorpe & Jill Morgan, 2020/21

An Exhibition and Gathering about Aboriginal Identity, resilience and celebration, commemorating the grassroots fight against the decision to shut down the Northland Secondary College

In December 1992, two Aboriginal students lodged a complaint with the Equal Opportunity Board claiming that the State’s decision to shut down their school Northland Secondary College was an act of systemic racial discrimination. Three years down the track, and one hell of a fight later, in the Supreme Court the Northland Community Mob, led by Gary Foley, won the case and the school was re-opened in 1995.

A Fight for Survival is collective story about Aboriginal Identity, resilience and celebration. The Exhibition presents photographs, artworks from former students, and other historical material from the period and reflects on why this school meant so much to so many people.

At the opening, there will be a traditional smoking ceremony, welcome to county and cultural performances. The event is FREE and open to all.

The Northland Secondary College, formerly Preston East Technical School now Northern College of the Arts and Technology, was named in the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody as a positive model and way of working that recognised and valued Aboriginal knowledge systems and ways of knowing. Come along to this ground breaking Exhibition and Gathering to find out more.

PLEASE NOTE: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that A Fight for Survival Exhibition and associated artworks, videos and website may contain the images, voices  and names of people who have passed on.


The Northlands Campaign Community History Project gratefully acknowledges our supporters:


This Gathering and Exhibition are based on research supported partially by the Australian Government through the Australian Research Council's Discovery Projects funding scheme (project IN180100067) awarded to Prof Gary Foley and Dr Clare Land. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Australian Government or Australian Research Council.

Victorian Government and Public Record Office Victoria

Northlands Mob gratefully acknowledges the support of the Victorian Government and Public Record Office Victoria for making this project possible.

Pool of Dreams, part of the Community Impact Foundation

Creative Victoria

A Fight For Survival Exhibition and Gathering is supported by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria.

Australia Council for the Arts

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

Moondani Balluk Academic Unit and the Aboriginal History Archive

We warmly acknowledge the support of the staff and Director of Moondani Balluk; and the Foley Collection of the Aboriginal History Archive.

Victoria University 

The Northlands Campaign Community History Project acknowledges VU’s in-kind and financial support through core funding and the Indigenous Central Research Grant Scheme.

Northern College of the Arts and Technology

The City of Darebin through FUSE Fund



Northlands Campaign Community Project team is made up of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people associated with the Northland Secondary College struggle and fight for justice.


Event & ticketing details


Wheelchair Access
Relaxed Performance

Dates & Times

Gathering Event Saturday 20 March - 1.00pm
Exhibition Opening Saturday 20 March - 2.00pm
Live Koorie Performances Saturday 20 March - 3.00pm
Exhibition open daily Weekdays - 9.00-5.00pm, Weekends 2.00-5.00pm
Presented By