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Byron Shire
August 3, 2021

Elders call out pro-Dunoon Dam campaign sign as racist

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Widjabul Wia-bal elders are shocked at the gross racism of a large pro-Dunoon Dam sign that appeared in Dunoon village recently.

Widjabul Wia-bal elders have called out a sign depicting sail boats and titled ‘Widjabal Sailing Club’ that has appeared in Dunoon village recently as part of the pro-Dunoon Dam campaign as racist.

They said they are shocked at the gross racism of the large pro-Dunoon Dam sign, a crude painting of yachts on a lake above the words ‘Widjabal Sailing Club’, that appeared in the village.

‘The sign is deeply offensive to us,’ said elders Uncle Steven Roberts and Uncle John Roberts.

‘We have said many times that the Dunoon Dam would destroy our sacred burial sites and other places of great significance to our culture. We have stated very clearly that we do not want the Dunoon Dam.’

The Rous County Council (RCC) voted not to build the dam and two rescission motions have failed to reverse the decision.

However, there are several people who are still campaigning for the dam to be built. These include former National Party candidate Austin Curtin (who lost to Janelle Saffin in the last state elections), Ballina Shire Councillor Sharon Cadwallader (who is also a member of the RCC) and Mayor of Richmond Valley Council and member of the RCC, Robert Mustow.

‘We call on all community leaders, especially Austin Curtin, Councillor Sharon Cadwallader, and other leaders of the pro-dam group, to publicly condemn this disgusting racism. We don’t want to see any more of it occurring,’ said elders Uncle Steven Roberts and Uncle John Roberts.

‘This is what happens when leaders don’t listen to the Traditional Owners when we call for respect of our heritage. Community leaders must lead by example in calling out racism.’


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6 COMMENTS

  1. Couldnt agree more! Its time for change, growth and maturity. There is no place for racism or outdated methods of water catchment.

  2. Hang on !
    Uncle Steven Roberts and Uncle John Roberts are obviously members of a race based group. There may even an indication of nepotism here, so I’m surprised that they have been called out by somebody, and they not only take exception but extol their inflated opinions of their worth in the debate. Steve and John can’t claim privilege because of their race and then call foul if that is commented on.
    Cheers , let’s get the Dam thing built, G”)

  3. And as some of the comments above, Australias blind racism again raises its ugly head
    Like your tap water to be run over the dead bodies of Aboriginal People? That’s what Austin Curtin, Balina/Rous Councillor Sharon Cadwallader and Mayor of Richmond Valley Council/ROUS Councillor Robert Mustow.wants, in their deceptive campaign to create a new dam at Dunoon which would inundate the burial sites of the old people of the Bundjalung Widjabul Wia-bal mob.
    Irrespective of the rest of thetr ill thought out pro dam propaganda campaign, (which is to put all our eggs in a narrow catchment of a dam), they portray the ugly face of embedded racism to Australia’s oldest culture. Thetr environmental blindness, is joined by thetr blindness to Australians cultural attitude change to Aboriginal heritage, demonstrated by the broad condemnation of the Jukan Gorge destruction, ( and I guess they was already too busy cooking up their cynical divisive pro dam election campaign to attend, or even notice, the local Byron five thousand strong Black Lives Matter rally).
    Thetr attitude is an old and dying attitude. Aboriginal culture and their heritage is the living thread that ties all of Australia’s immigrant cultures together, and anchors us all to this land. But at only 3% of the population, Aboriginal people will never ever win a democratic vote. It is down to us, of immigrant backgrounds, to stand as fellow countrymen with our Aboriginal brothers and sisters, and to demand heritage and sensitive cultural site’s protection. In this case, for the grave sites of our Northern Rivers Widjabul Wia-bal people. The submission period to ROUS on our future water supply infrastructure is over, but speaking out against cultural destruction and dispossession never is – Email ROUS and all the ROUS Councillors: [email protected] ; [email protected] ; [email protected] ; [email protected] ; [email protected] ; [email protected]; [email protected] ; [email protected] ; [email protected];
    No tears of anguish of our Aboriginal brothers and sisters need to pollute our water supply.

    • I wouldn’t worry about graves if I were you, there are graves everywhere. Environmental damage is the big problem, spend your time on that, not superstition.

  4. All of Australian urban areas should be running on desalinated water powered with roof solar. The grid regulators are now whinging there is too much roof solar. The subsidies paid to roof solar residents is now pretty much zero, which is a joke. What should happen is people with roof solar should get paid an amount, to sell their roof solar power to be used by desalination plants. Then this extra created water should be recycled once used by households and be given to agriculture to use, instead of stealing the water from the driest continent on earth.

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