22.7 C
Byron Shire
October 22, 2021

Cultural heritage report goes public

Latest News

NSW Legislative Council expresses concerns over push to burn native forests for power

The NSW Legislative Council unanimously passed a motion expressing its concerns over the growing push by industry to burn NSW native forests for electricity and hydrogen production.

Other News

Black bellied whale sighted at Ballina dubbed ‘Liquorice’

For years southern waters whale watchers have been keeping their eyes keen for Migaloo and his offspring, but just...

Editorial: Jabby jab jab jabb

As of this week, NSW reached the double vaccination target of 80 per cent!

Jeff Johnson calls for generational change at Ballina

The next in our series of interviews with Ballina Council hopefuls for the December election features Cr Jeff Johnson, who is also nominating for mayor after thirteen years service on council.

Iona Herbs

Pam Morrow from Iona Herbs is a one-woman-show. She has spent her whole life growing herbs and produce on...

French hypocrisy

The French are understandably upset about being stabbed in the back by Australia’s sinking of the submarine contract. They...

Truth

The truth doesn’t mind being questioned. A lie does. Margot Hays, Bangalow

Part of the area which would have gone underwater if the Dunoon Dam had gone ahead. Photo David Lowe.

A redacted copy of the 2013 Ainsworth Cultural Heritage Impact Assessment document has been made publicly available on the Rous County Council website, clarifying the extensive Widjabul Wia-bul connections with the land which would have been inundated by the Dunoon Dam.

Much discussed in the dam debate, but only available to a select audience until now, the extraordinarily thorough and detailed report is available as a PDF here, having had sensitive information removed for a public audience.

Cliff in Channon Gorge, near Dunoon. Photo David Lowe.

Chair of Rous County Council, Keith Williams, said the public release of the 2013 Ainsworth Culture Heritage Impact Assessment should end the claims by some councillors that the indigenous heritage in the Dunoon area has either not been properly investigated or simply doesn’t exist.

He told The Echo the report ‘fundamentally’ changed his view.

Numerous graves and other heritage

The 463 page Ainsworth Report details substantial indigenous heritage within the proposed Dunoon dam site that it has assessed as State Significant and unlikely to receive approval should Rous attempt to proceed with the dam, without having exhausted all other potential avenues of water supply.

Until recently the report has remained confidential, based on the concerns expressed by the Widjabul Wia-bul Traditional Custodians at the exposure of culturally sensitive and personal information and the risk of vandalism at the sites.

This area would have been drowned by the Dunoon Dam. Photo David Lowe.

Cr Williams told The Echo, ‘I am grateful to the Traditional Custodians for the trust they placed in me to allow me to view a copy of the report during the consultation period for the Rous Future Water Plan. It changed my view on the feasibility of a dam completely.

‘There are clearly many more burials than I was initially led to believe, including from times prior to European settlement. The description of the site as “State Significant” should ring alarm bells for any proposed development in the area.’

Cr Williams also expressed his gratitude to the Traditional Custodians for allowing a de-identified version of the document to be published.

‘I understand the sensitivity of the material and the deep significance of the the area to the Traditional Custodians,’ he said. ‘This would have been a difficult decision. I hope it is just the start of a renewed trust between Rous, the Traditional Custodians and the community.’

Genuine communication and consultation needed, not dog whistling

Channon Gorge, close to proposed Dunoon Dam wall. Photo David Lowe.

Cr Williams said allowing publication of the information will help the community better understand the rationale for his decision to put the dam to one side, while Rous Council enters into genuine consultation with the Widjabul Wia-bul Custodians and explores all other viable water supply options.

‘The publication of the Ainsworth Report should put an end to the racist dog whistle of a campaign, that we just need more studies. What we need is the willingness to accept what is already known,’ he said.

While the Dunoon Dam has been rejected on multiple occasions by Rous County Council on heritage and other grounds, a group of councillors from Richmond Valley and Ballina are continuing to agitate for the option to be re-considered.


More stories about Dunoon Dam:

No means no, say traditional owners

As Water Week draws to a close, with a theme of 'Caring for Water and Country', a group of Widjabul Wia-bal elders have emphatically said they do not want the Dunoon Dam proposal to be put back on the table by pro-dam councillors.

0

Cultural heritage report goes public

A redacted copy of the 2013 Ainsworth Cultural Heritage Impact Assessment document has been made publicly available on the Rous County Council website, clarifying the extensive Widjabul-Wiabul connections with the land which would have been inundated by the Dunoon Dam.

3

Rous County Council Crs Cadwallader and Williams at loggerheads over Dunoon...

The Council elections are coming in December and the issue of water security has become a key issue for Ballina Shire Councillors as Mayoral candidates Cr Sharon Cadwallader and Cr Keith Williams. Both Ballina councillors are representatives on the Rous...

4

Ballina mayor hopeful loses bid for independent water science team a...

Cr Cadwallader's second version of the motion came with an extra suggestion referring directly to the dumped option of a new hinterland dam in Dunoon.

10

Cadwallader determined to win support for new water science team as...

Cr Cadwallader has taken advantage of a local government rule allowing councillors to reintroduce a failed motion without having to wait three months if they have the signed support of at least two other councillors.

10

Previous articleThanks David
Next articleFence sitter

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.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Bul,Bul and more BULL !
    Does anybody believe this rubbish ? This area is burnt-out cow paddocks , go and have a look.
    How many places on this continent after sixty thousand years , doesn’t have many grave sites ?
    Cheers , G”)

    • Old white male privilege passing judgement again Ken? Your comment is a disgrace. Little wonder it’s made behind a gutless half name

  2. Gosh, now I know what the Traditional Owners have to put up with on a daily basis.

    The Cultural Heritage Impact Assessment is highly detailed and has been peer-reviewed by some of Australia’s top archeologists. It confirms what the Widjabul Wia-bal have been saying – no more studies are needed to establish the importance of the area. The author suggested that more examination could be done, as researchers always say, but that does not mean the work already done is insufficient.

    This area compares in significance with the Juukan Cave in WA that was destroyed by Rio Tinto. The proposed dam site at the end of Fraser Rd has state, national and international importance. The burial sites are pre-contact and post-contact. The pre-contact ones appear to belong to 3 different phases. That means that they are not just important to their Aboriginal owners, they are archeological treasures as well.

    It would have been nice if the Traditional Owners had just been believed from the outset. I wonder if an apology is out of the question?

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Diadem Street, Lismore

Around 2,000 residents in Lismore lost their electricity connection on Wednesday night after a large gum tree took out power lines.

Black bellied whale sighted at Ballina dubbed ‘Liquorice’

For years southern waters whale watchers have been keeping their eyes keen for Migaloo and his offspring, but just how many local cetacean enthusiasts...

A history of ‘freedom’ and the Northern Rivers vaccine divide

Among the many myths about the COVID-19 vaccines is a belief they contain live virus that a vaccinated person will shed in social and intimate circumstances. Along with many other vaccine myths, this belief is contributing to a significant divide in the Northern Rivers community.

No means no, say traditional owners

As Water Week draws to a close, with a theme of 'Caring for Water and Country', a group of Widjabul Wia-bal elders have emphatically said they do not want the Dunoon Dam proposal to be put back on the table by pro-dam councillors.