Break Australia’s Nuclear Chain


Donated by Donated by John Ellis

Museum of Australian Democracy collection

Uranium mining and nuclear power were two of the most controversial public issues in Australia in the 1970 and 1980s. The Australian anti-nuclear movement gathered pace after French nuclear weapons tests in the Pacific in 1972–1973. Community concern grew widespread in 1977–1978 when the Fraser government approved uranium mining and export. Major accidents at Three Mile Island (United States) in 1979 and Chernobyl (former USSR) in 1986—plus frequent serious incidents at Britain’s Sellafield nuclear fuel reprocessing site—also raised fears in Australia.

The donor of this badge, John Ellis, writes:

I became involved with the anti-nuclear movement through my association with anti-war activism during the Vietnam War. The development of nuclear weapons had become very much a part of the twentieth century arms race, as seen by the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These acts I considered a crime against humanity. I also objected to the development of nuclear power for safety and environmental reasons such as those experienced at Chernobyl.

This badge is important to me as it demonstrates my opposition to the development and use of nuclear weapons which begins with mining uranium. I wore it to let people know how I felt and hopefully to influence them. My peace activism began when I was a young man and continues to this day. When wearing the badge, it was a connection with other peace activists.