Aboriginal people employed on sheep stations were governed by the Native Administration Act. The Act denied Aboriginal people freedom of movement in their original lands and made it illegal for them to leave station employment, employment which was determined by the local ‘native protector’ who was often the local policeman. Housing conditions were dreadful and food had to be bought out of meagre wages. Their status was that of slaves.
How The West Was Lost tells the story of how 800 Aboriginal station workers walked off sheep stations in the north-west of Western Australia on 1 May 1946, marking the beginning of a carefully organised strike that was to last for at least 3 years, but never officially ended.