The Junction Co. warmly invites all to join us at the exciting, one night only, exhibition of Dear Don, Featuring artists Roderick Sprigg and Chelsea Mcauliffe, the exhibition pays homage to a critical time in Western Australian history.  

The story of the 1946 Pilbara strike has been told in many different forms over many years now, and those forms can have a profound influence on its content. In the State Library of Western Australia, there is a collection of letters from Don McLeod, a key spokesperson for the 1946 Pilbara Strike. These letters and tokens of history are significant within our state and region.  

In commemoration of WA Day, we invite artists to respond to the letters written by Don. In this exhibition, artists are invited to explore the letters and enter a dialogue with Don through new-age mediums, culminating in an innovative, never before seen, projection exhibition right here in South Hedland. This exhibition investigates the significant moments of our region and highlights history told through traditional letter-writing, alongside innovating and experimenting with an exciting new forms of communication and display. 

Donald William McLeod is one of the major activists for Aboriginal rights in the twentieth century. Don is most famous for being chosen by Marrgnu people of the Pilbara to be their spokesperson during the Pilbara Strike (1946 to 1949). Don was a prominent spokesperson for Aboriginal Human Rights and was a regular correspondent across Australia.  

During the first two years of the Pilbara strike, McLeod worked as a labourer on the Port Hedland wharf. His more direct involvement in the economic activities of the strikers began in mid-1948 when he shifted to Marble Bar. Throughout the 1950s, except when business or campaign matters took him to Perth, he lived in cooperative camps with Marrngu, not socially integrated into the community but living somewhat apart, often in a tin shed, typing out his interminable correspondence and surviving on little more than damper, tea and cigarettes. Marrngu appreciated his willingness to live with them under the same conditions and on the same diet.  

Don continued his involvement with Aboriginal issues even after his split in the cooperative in 1959. Until his death in 1999, he campaigned tirelessly for Aboriginal self-determination and the restoration of the provisions of Section 70 of the Western Australian Constitution, playing a significant, and today largely unrecognised, role in the movement for Aboriginal rights in Australia.  


Exhibition Opening
(Please note this is a one night only exhibition)
Friday, 9 June 2023, 6PM – 8PM  

Hedland Senior High School Oval, via Dreamer’s Corner 

This is a FREE inclusive event. All welcome.
There will be art, music and food trucks.