Coalition still 'poisoning the creek' in Cape York to shift big agri to the North?
Topic: aust govt
Tony Abbott, now opposition leader served in a government with former Deputy PM Tim Fischer.
Fischer famously promised bucketloads of native title extinguishment in 1996 and 1997 after the High Court of Australia Wik Case decision in favour of tradional owners. The HCA being our highest precedent court. The Fischer plan was to breach the Racial Discrimination Act which the Howard Govt did.
Fischer's sticht was about country grace and pastoral courtesy. Two minute Tim was his nickname for brief visits to numerous places in his big electorate around Narrandera in rural and regional NSW. He famously hailed from a property at "Boree Ck". He even leveraged a diplomatic post to the Vatican under the current Rudd Govt.
Here is a map from Google Earth showing proximity of Boree Ck to Narrandera:
But the same Google service doesn't provide a location of the nearby Poisoned Waterhole Ck we noticed the first time on a road trip years ago. Interestingly it sends the searcher to the local Narrandera council, perhaps to guard the stories? But here is a photograph from the Roads & Traffic Authority:
And they claim the name refers to dingo pests being poisoned in 1880 [bold added]:
The encroachment of Europeans onto Wiradjuri land brought conflict and between 1839 and 1841 a series of incidents along 100 kilometres of the Murrumbidgee centring on Narrandera became known as the "Wiradjuri wars". Aborigines took cattle and speared stockmen in retaliation for atrocities committed by settlers and loss of traditional fishing grounds and significant sites. Many of the Wiradjuri peoples were killed at Hulong in 1840 and at Murdering Island in 1841. Whilst it has been speculated that Poisoned Waterholes Creek's name stems from the poisoning of Aborigines by settlers, it seems that the majority of the Narrungdera were broken by the Murdering Island massacre. According to Gammage, a more likely explanation for the name is that it was associated with the poisoning of dingos, which became troublesome around the creek in the 1880s, forced into the area by closer settlement. (Regional Histories, 1996, p. 132; Gammage, 1986, p. 238)
That's the first time we've heard Aboriginal people in effect called pest species dingoes because that's not the story from the Wiradjuri/Narrungdera (bold added):
Fragments of a heritage
On the peaceful Murrumbidgee near Narrandera there are two places with names hinting at a bloody past. One is poisoned Waterholes Creek and the other is Massacre Island.
The traditions of these places are recorded in the Murrumbidgee volume of Wiradjuri Places. In 1995 Ossie Ingram recalled an account given to him by an old man in the 1930s of what had happened there a century before.
Near Buckingbong homestead several groups of Aboriginal families used to camp. The station owner poured drums of poison into a big waterhole called Green Swamp and many people died. Other families heard about this and cleared out to a place called Duck Bend. They camped on the island but a boundary rider spotted smoke from the kangaroo grass there and reported it to the boss. The station boss got the men together and they rode to the bend of the river where the island was, and they shot the whole group except for one man.
The one survivor got a reed into his mouth and used it to breathe while he swam down the river with it. He bypassed all the places that he knew and finally collapsed at Benerembah station. The station owner’s daughter cared for him until he recovered, fell in love with him and married him.
Too romantic to be believed? Strange things happened on the frontiers of settlement. Neville Lyons of Narrandera gives another version of the same tale about Poisoned Waterholes Creek. No contemporary record has come to light, but the Aboriginal oral tradition is very strong. In western NSW the 1830s was a period of frontier violence and Aboriginal resistance called “The Wiradjuri War”.
Wiradjuri Places consists of three volumes which describe in vivid detail the surviving fragments of the Aboriginal heritage of the three great river basins of the area: Murrumbidgee, the Lachlan and the Macquarie.
Dr Kabaila uses his skills to research and record the Aboriginal heritage of the vast Wiradjuri language region which includes much of inland central NSW. Personal recollections are contributed by a large number of members of the Aboriginal community. Emeritus Professor Isabel McBryde is the technical referee for the work.
I was born in the centre of Wiradjuri country at Orange, and I have lived much of my life in the area. Yet these books record an Australian history, an Australian culture, that I scarcely knew existed. The author presents us with the published record of a massive fieldwork study in what was the forgotten history of Australia. Every known Aboriginal settlement in the area has been mapped and recorded, artefacts sketched, oral traditions preserved, and photographs identified.
These books record a dark period in the Aboriginal history of NSW. Yet the record will be of inestimable value to future generations. "
at A.C.T. based website of Indigenous history here http://members.pcug.org.au/~amandak/belconnen.htm
So what has this all got to do with Cape York conservation of world heritage quality nature in the hands of the traditional owners there in the far north a long way from NSW? Well there was a 1996 Cape York land use agreement negotiated and promised $40M implementation funds with the great Rick Farley as mediator. An election promise broken by the Howard/Fischer/Abbott government, along with their bucket loads of extinguishment agenda.
Now as the Murray Darling big agri sector slowly dies it appears industry are determined to get into Cape York unspoilt rivers, and Kimberley on the WA side. The rival Queensland Govt (under the ALP) in 2003 onwards moved to prevent a Howard Govt developer agenda in world heritage quality unprotected ares with their Wild Rivers legislation. Some Aboriginal leaders have been outraged by this cramping of their developer aspirations too by the State Govt. Just last Friday an NT Aboriginal leader offered support in the press saying words to the effect of
'if the traditional owners want to cut down all the trees why shouldn't they given what the Europeans have done in the past?'
But this extreme position reveals the false choice being offered.
Fischer, Howard and Abbott could not have put it more clearly. They are still poisoning the rivers and creeks metaphorically speaking in Cape York when they could have chosen to support a world heritage and economic development negotiated agreement. But the Coalition national politicians prefered politicking and conflict because it serves their redneck agenda in the broader national debate. How shameful.
Many lives would have been saved and jobs created if that original negotiated agreement in 1996, reported here on SAM late last week, had been implemented. Green groups, Cattleman's Union together. 14 years later we are in an angry stalemate with accusations flying in all directions, not least politican Tony Abbott and his mates. A modern version of pure poison.
Perhaps Tim Fischer might consider taking confesssion there in the Vatican?
Posted by editor
at 10:16 AM EADT