26.1 C
Byron Shire
February 25, 2021

Widjabul Wia-bal rally against rescission motion

Latest News

‘Hollywood’ drug squads over the top

I guess we have to thank Hollywood for the enduring myth that a black-clad squad of elite 'blokes', preferably with cool helicopters, from the capital are needed to crack down on really serious crime in hick parts of the country like Mullumbimby.

Other News

Stop motion animators needed

Northern Rivers Community Gallery in Ballina is seeking expressions of interest from suitably experienced digital animators with demonstrated experience...

Ballina sludge a mixture of blue-green algae species

A reader has sent Echonetdaily some photos of what he described as 'something nasty and green coming down the Richmond River'.

Historical Museum shows off its knickers

There is plenty to find out about our ancestors’ ‘intimate apparel’ while you visit the museum and its monthly market, which will be taking place on Saturday.

Family Court scrapped

Despite overwhelming opposition from Australia’s family law specialists and advocates, the federal Liberal-Nationals government and cross benchers scrapped the Family Law Court and subsumed it into the circuit courts last week.

Council’s power

Matthew O’Reilly I refer to Ian Pickles’ letter, titled ‘Developers’ power’ (Letters, 10 February). Generally, I must agree with most of...

Amber alert for blue-green algae at Lake Ainsworth

An amber alert has been put in place for Lake Ainsworth near Lennox Head in relation to the presence of blue-green algae.

Last Friday a rally was held at Spinks Park Lismore to urge Rous County Council to hold firm with their decision to stop Dunoon Dam and to rezone the land so that the threat of its flooding would end.

The Widjabul Wia-bal people initiated the rally because a rescission motion proposed for the Rous meeting on February 17 would reverse this decision and once again leave traditional custodians in limbo.

Widjabul Wia-bal Elders and Traditional Owners at the Rous office in Lismore. Photo Maddy Braddon.

The Widjabul Wia-bal released a statement about the dam.

We, Custodians of Widjabul Wia-bal lands of the Bundjalung Nation, and neighbouring tribes, want you to know that the area to be affected by the proposed Dunoon Dam is significant to us, to our  people. We need to protect this land. It is important to our Ancestors and for our future generations to be able to connect to our Ancestors and traditions. 

This land holds our relationship with our living heritage and culture. 

For thousands of generations we have lived on this land and protected it while it protected and fed us. To destroy this land is to destroy the environment which sustains us. The proposed dam would destroy the learning grounds for future generations. 

The suggestion to drown our sites to protect them (as stated in the 2013 Cultural Heritage Impact Assessment) is deeply offensive to us.

Additionally, the valley to be drowned by the dam at the end of Fraser Road is the site where we were moved to after we were dispossessed just over 100 years ago. It is important as part of our survival journey. 

We, the Traditional Custodians of this land, will not accept its destruction. No compensation will replace its importance to us and our following generations.

We call on Rous County Council to return the land that it controls to the Traditional Custodians. 

Do not construct the Dunoon Dam. Do not destroy our living culture.

Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people at rally

The Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people who came to support the traditional custodians. Photo Maddy Braddon.

The rally was attended by Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people who came to support the traditional custodians and to hear Widjabul Wia-bal elders talk about the destructive Dunoon dam.

On behalf of the Widjabul Wia-bal woman Aunty Lana Hunt said traditional custodians bear responsibilities to their ancestors who have been laid to rest on that ground. ‘We feel this responsibility deeply. Since the dam was first proposed in 1993, it has caused us so much stress – the threat to obliterate our heritage and flood the graves of our ancestors.

‘Over and over again we have voiced our objections and explained the significance of all country to our living culture and families.’

A weight lifted

Aunty Marie Delbridge said when the Rous Board decided to stop the Dunoon Dam in their December meeting and to rezone the land, a weight lifted off their shoulders. ‘At last we felt heard. Then this rescission motion came up to reverse the decision, to place this burden on our shoulders again.

‘We ask Rous to stay firm with its decision to stop the dam, and to remove the threat of it forever, so that we can sleep knowing that our important heritage is safe.  Please take this burden from us, once and for all.’

80 Widjabul Wia-bal elders and TOs sign statement

Widjabul Wia-bal Elders and Traditional Owners prepared a statement to be read at the rally Photo Maddy Braddon.

Cindy Roberts said the statement was signed by more than 80 Widjabul Wia-bal elders and traditional owners. ‘Our cultural heritage is a direct connection to our ancestors and these sites provide us with a link to our traditions, our land and our living heritage.

‘Cultural heritage reports were done in 2011 and 2013 that showed the huge significance of the area. For more than 25 years we have voiced opposition to its destruction. The uncertainty must stop now once and for all. We call on Rous to stop the dam for good.’

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Local fisherfolk caught in the parking fine net

FIsherfolk have been caught in the net of parking fines designed to stop travellers parking up for the night on the Tweed Coast Road and they are seeking help to access their beaches at night without fines.

Family Court scrapped

Despite overwhelming opposition from Australia’s family law specialists and advocates, the federal Liberal-Nationals government and cross benchers scrapped the Family Law Court and subsumed it into the circuit courts last week.

Cavanbah centre gets a taste of 3×3 basketball

The Byron Beez basketball team in collaboration with the U League hosted a 3x3 tournament at the Cavanbah centre at the end of January that attracted 30 teams.

Northern Rivers policeman accused of youth assault acquitted

Magistrate Michael Dakin has ordered a common assault charge against a former Byron-based policeman be dropped after an altercation involving a naked youth in Byron Bay three years ago.