“History of RAR” – a book is being written!

2021 marks two decades of RAR’s grass roots action to challenge refugee policy and practice in Australia.

Contact Jan:

23 August 2021

The manuscript is finally in the hands of the publisher !!!

Wild Dingo Press is committed to contributing a valuable and necessary perspective to the discussion of social, cultural and political matters by giving control over representation back to the people affected. – https://wilddingopress.com.au/

About Catherine Lewis, Wild Dingo Press Founder

Catherine Lewis lectured at Monash University for 20 years before heading up Insight Publications – a Melbourne-based educational publishing company of Secondary English resources.  In 2010, she founded Wild Dingo Press to publish fiction and non-fiction literary works that explore social, cultural, political and environmentally significant issues.

16 June 2021

Yippee !!! The first draft of the book is completed.

Now the slow task of editing begins.

20 February 2021 – People are still sending boxes of material for the book

Some of you will remember the Freedom Bus – 2002

15 February 2021. The Manuscript is growing.


7 February 2021. – I am currently writing the chapters on Home Among the Gum Trees, and the SIEV X memorial in Canberra.


I’m sure most of you know about the Home Among the Gum Trees program, but do you know of the RAR connection with the SIEV X project?



26 December 2020

What a year it has been.

The book is progressing – more slowly than I had first hope, but definitely progressing.

I’m currently trying to trace people connected with early RAR groups that are no longer part of the current RAR Network. If you know of anyone connected with the list below, please feel free to pass on my contact deals – I’d love to hear from anyone who can tell me a little about these RAR groups.


              • Barossa RAR
              • Bombala RAR
              • Invernell RAR
              • Jamberoo RAR
              • Kangaroo Valley RAR
              • Portland RAR
              • Whitsunday RAR
              • Wimmera RAR


6 November 2020

Information is still arriving in my Inbox from RAR groups – thank you all.

If your group is one of the few who have not yet sent a couple of paragraphs for the Book, please … don’t be the group that is left out.

In 2017 Great Lakes RAR welcomed Dr Munjed AL Muderis, and in 2019 Asylum Seekers Action Group Albany’s weekly vigil was joined by Senator Jordon Steele-John.

19 October 2020 – Thank you to so many groups who have sent me news of their activities – amazing people.
If I included all you have sent, the book would become a 3 volume publication. But you have all understood that I will have to edit and tweak – thank you.

And for the few who missed the very tight deadline to contribute to “The Book”, I’m hoping that you will still find a moment to send a paragraph or two. And lots of great photos are also arriving. Above is the Redlands for Refugees group in Brisbane.

1 October 2020

Hi there
My name is Jan Govett, and I’m a member of Bendigo RAR.
In 2021 it will be 20 years since RAR began in the Southern Highlands of NSW.

      • To celebrate and document this unique rural Australian network, I am writing its history.
      • Working title: Ten Thousand Strong: Rural Australians for Refugees

RAR groups rally in Melbourne 2019


Below is a list of questions your group may like to answer and return to me.

I hope you will be interested in contributing some of your personal memories and knowledge, especially for the chapters:

  • Original RAR groups 2001 – 2007
  • RAR in the Labor Years 2007-2013
  • RAR groups 2013-2021
  • Initiatives and Projects – e.g. Freedom Rides, Welcome Towns, Art Exhibitions, etc.
  • Resettlement stories
  • 2021 – Where to from here

Questions for RAR Groups

  1.  Name of your group
  2. What and who was the catalyst for your group?
  3. When did your group begin?
  4. Size of your group – active / on your email list
  5. Why call your group Rural Australians for Refugees (RAR)? Or why not?
  6. Brief description of your group’s activities
  7. Who are your “Local Heroes”?
  8. Any notable events, occasions, achievements, etc.
  9. What do you regard as the most important thing that has built awareness within your local community?
  10. Some groups have amazing stories to tell about their relationships with people seeking asylum and refugees. This would be both interesting and informative and may well encourage others who read the book to join / establish local RAR groups.
  11. Suggestions for the title of “The History”.
  12. Your comments – i.e. things I’ve forgotten to ask about.

Send comments or ask for further information by contacting me at: