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June 24, 2024

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$6.8 million Tweed pound contract awarded

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When my ancestors’ family landed in Brisbane in 1863, they settled in Coorparoo, close to the lagoons at Woolongabba. They played with the local kids there, who taught them how to swim, how to make and use a spear for fishing, and taught them their language. This was not an isolated case. There were many such ‘first contact’ stories all over the country. It was later that the trouble started, when settlers brought their sheep and cattle onto the land without permission, and started destroying the native environment; a process we continue down to the present day.

Ten years ago I was able to visit my ancient homelands of France and Ireland, which was a great healing for me. And one of the beautiful things I found was that there are still traditional owners there, and in the UK, who are in touch with their ancient past, maintaining sacred sites, ancient monuments and other signs of human habitation dating back millennia. If they can do it there, why can’t we accord the traditional owners here the same respect?

We Australians who came here after 1788 continue to benefit from the dispossession of the original occupants. Until we can accept this, we live in a state of denial and delusion.

Until quite recently we told ourselves, through our legal system, that this land was unoccupied, and belonged to no-one. The legal term was terra nullius. This fiction was finally overturned by the High Court of Australia in Mabo (1992); long overdue, given that King George III ordered Captain Cook to act ‘with the consent of the natives’.

In the past 30 years there has been a growing awareness and appreciation of Indigenous knowledge in all realms of human existence.

For me, the proposed cancellation of the handback of Council land on North Lismore Plateau sits in the same basket as the revival of a proposed new dam on Rocky Creek: these decisions, if taken, represent a triumph of greed, hatred and ignorance over the much touted ‘Australian’ values of mateship, tolerance and a fair go.

I urge Lismore and Rous County Council to think clearly before going down this emotional, knee-jerk road. Don’t stir up hate and division: be ‘human’ enough to honour previous commitments. There’s plenty to do, working together, without these distractions.

Keith Gasteen, The Channon


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8 COMMENTS

  1. England was conquered by the Picts who were then conquered by the Celts who were then conquered by the Angles and Saxons.
    France was conquered by the Gauls who were conquered by the Romans who have been displaced by the modern day french.

    The land bridge to Australia opens up every 23,000 years for new people to walk in.

    • Chris what are we to make of your potted history of Australia? You bang on about “civilization” below. Well civilized nations do not have a winner take all approach. Civilized nations respect earlier civilizations and cultures. For example, despite William the Conqueror winning in 1066 the United Kingdom has preserved relics from earlier cultures such as Stonehenge, Hadrain’s wall and the Roman ruins at Bath. France has preserved their caves at Lascaux.

      Likewise Rouse County Council should respect the culture that currently exists in the Channon gorge. Do they really want to follow the examples of Rio Tinto, who destroyed the caves at Juukan Gorge or the Taliban who destroyed Bamiyan Buddha statues?

      I think not!

  2. no those actions do not represent greed and hatred, absolute nonsense, that is what YOU think about other people, they are YOUR thoughts.

    You do realise that pre-colonial settlement, it was not some indigenous utopia right ? You must take for granted that we now live in modern times where food, water and life is relatively easy.

    Indigenous Australians MODIFIED the landscape on a huge scale with fire for thousands of years, that wiped out species and changed the ecology, they are HUMAN too, this is what humans have done to survive.

    Indigenous Australia were extremely tribal and engaged in significant conflicts and change of land ownership amongst tribes was just as fluent as other parts of the world. Just look at Maori’s, Māori originated with settlers from East Polynesia, who arrived in New Zealand in several waves of canoe voyages between roughly 1320 and 1350 who basically wiped out the original inhabitants.

    Reality is a construct of the mind

    • Here are some books for you to read before misappropriating indigenous ontology Steven.

      Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe

      Sand Talk by Tyson Yunkaporta

      A Secret Country: The hidden Australia by John Pilger

      All Henry Reynolds Books

      Us Mob by Mudrooroo

      Nomads of the Australian Desert by Charles P Mountford.
      to name a few.

      As far as the statement it “was not some indigenous utopia right” only underlines your ignorance when it comes to traditional laws and customs, id argue that a culture as complex and diverse as Indigenous Australians was; with pattern thinking, protocols, laws, customs, diverse language groups as well as deep time cognizance. All within an ‘oral’ language stretching back 60,000+ years without evidence of large scale war, displacement or slavery while maintaining a sustainable environment is a type of human Utopia.

      Also does history legitimize current day occupation and displacement? In regards to the Dam environmental destruction? I’ts 2022 Steven, if you need to rely on the displacement and destruction of former civilizations and humanities greatest depraved hits to survive in the present with what is left; then good luck.

      • Civilisation? Nomads are uncivilised by definition.

        That land bridge to Australia opens up every 23,000 years for more people to walk in. The last time was 9000BC

        • I think you are relying on a very outdated and pedantic definition of “civilisation”, Chris. These days most people use it interchangeably with “culture”, and I’m sure you wouldn’t suggest Indigenous Australians were uncultured or that their society wasn’t complex.
          As for the ‘land bridge’.. every 23000 years? … like clockwork? I don’t think so! This concept of ‘waves’ of people arriving tends to be rolled out by apologists who want to justify white colonialism as just another ‘wave’. It’s rubbish! See: https://australian.museum/learn/first-nations/debunking-australian-pygmy-people-myth/

        • This book list goes to you too Chris.
          Indigenous Australians are not Nomads (except for a select few, but not in the sense that you think) That is the narrative that has been used to justify Terra Nullius, while every permanent structure was burnt to the ground (villages consisting of 500+ people) by settlers following first contact to further iterate the nomad narrative.

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