From Little Things Big Things Grow

The fight for Indigenous civil rights from 1920 to 1970 is the subject of this moving and powerful exhibition.


Follow the struggles of a group of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians who banded together in the fight to end discrimination. Their personal lives were sacrificed in the fight and some were victimised for taking a stand; some were even spied on by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation.


From Little Things Big Things Grow also uncovers the injustices of racism and discrimination that inspired the activists in their struggle for change by revealing what life was like for Indigenous people in this time. This moving exhibition tells the largely unknown story of Indigenous and non-Indigenous activists who fought together for justice and equal rights for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It details the achievements and sacrifices of the struggle through personal stories, photographs, rarely seen objects and protest material.


Things to see and do

  • View up close, fascinating objects from the National Museum’s Collection, including many that have never been exhibited before.
  • Listen to captivating contemporary interviews with Indigenous Australians who experience the injustices of this period.
  • Reflect on harrowing personal stories of discrimination and survival.
  • View original footage of the 1965 Freedom Ride and listen to the song From Little Things Big Things Grow by Australian artists Paul Kelly and Kev Carmody. A song that tells the inspiring story of the Gurindji people.
  • Reflect on key events in the struggle for Indigenous civil rights including the 1938 Day of Mourning and Protest and the 1967 Referendum.
  • ‘Have Your Say’ by sharing your stories of discrimination or comments about what you have seen in the exhibition.


Cultural Advice: Visitors should be aware that the exhibition and website may include names, images and voices of deceased people that may cause sadness or distress to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It is our intention to tell these stories and use imagery with good faith and with respect.


Discover more

Read about two stories told within the exhibition, including a story almost nobody knows.

Discover more about the full exhibition at the National Museum of Australia's exhibition website.


Learning resources

Education Resources suitable for yrs 8 -12 have been devised by the National Museum of Australia to support the visit experience.  The resources encourage observation, investigation, analysis, research and reflection.
Students will develop their understanding of:

  • the development of Indigenous Australians' rights in this period,
  • the people involved in the struggles for these rights,
  • the issues those people faced.


Event Details

11 February 2012 - 27 May 2012
Level 4

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