Jenny Munro

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Jenny Munro speaking at a demonstration outside State Parliament House, New South Wales

Jenny Munro (born 1956) is an Australian Wiradjuri elder and a prominent activist for the rights of Indigenous Australians. She has been at the forefront of the fight for Aboriginal housing at The Block in Sydney, and started the Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy.[1] She is sister of the late Aboriginal activist, Isabel Coe.

She is an active member of the Waterloo Public Housing Action Group (WPHAG).

Early life[edit]

Munro was born to parents Les and Agnes, who were Aboriginal Land Rights activists. She grew up on Erambie Mission, near the town of Cowra, New South Wales. In 1972, Munro's parents took her to the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra, where they joined the protest by sleeping in tents. At the age of 17, she moved to the inner-Sydney suburb of Redfern. In Sydney, she met her husband, Lyall Munro, and they both became founding members of the Aboriginal Housing Company (AHC). Together, she and Lyall moved to an AHC-run house in the Sydney suburb of Marrickville, where they raised two children. She successfully completed an arts / law degree at the University of New South Wales.[2]

In 1978, Munro began work as a trainee bookkeeper at the Aboriginal Children's Service in Sydney, eventually becoming Administrator of the organisation. She was elected chairperson of the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC), and was involved in campaigns to convince the New South Wales government to change its approach to Aboriginal issues.[3] In the 1998 Australian federal election, she stood as an independent in the electoral Division of Sydney.[4]

Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy[edit]

Jenny Munro accepts award at the National Indigenous Human Rights Awards

On 26 May 2014 Munro launched Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy to reclaim affordable Aboriginal housing for the former residents of the area known as The Block. The Embassy despite a standoff with the Aboriginal Housing Company which has evicted all the former Aboriginal tenants is continuing to occupy The Block. In February 2015 Aboriginal Housing Company chairman Mick Mundine threatened to commence the eviction of the protesters led by Munro.[5] In Sydney's major newspaper, Daisy Dumas reported that the standoff between the protestors and the Housing Company intensified in 2015 with the matter before the Supreme Court for judgment and with the State Attorney General alerted.[6]

After more than 400 days of the Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy, Munro declared victory when the Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion intervened on the Embassy's behalf and brokered a peaceful resolution between the Housing Company and the Embassy. Scullion committed $5 million of federal funds to the site for 62 affordable Aboriginal housing units.[7][8][9]



  1. ^ "Defiant Redfern tent embassy ignores eviction notice". The Daily Telegraph. Sydney. 23 February 2015.
  2. ^ Trenoweth, Samantha (12 July 2014). "The AHC and the battle for Redfern's Block". The Saturday Paper. Melbourne, Australia.
  3. ^ Briskman, Linda (2003). The Black Grapevine: Aboriginal Activism and the Stolen Generations. Annandale, Australia: The Federation. pp. 27–8.
  4. ^ "The left in the federal election". Green Left Weekly. Sydney. 30 September 1998.
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