Sandon Point | Picket | Kuradji Aboriginal Tent Embassy

Kuradji Aboriginal Tent Embassy

Sandon Point, New South Wales, Australia

NEW!!!! 1. NIRAG Submission to NSW Land & Environment Court, Carol Berry BA (Politics) LLB 29 August 2001

2. Korewal Elouera Jerrungarugh Aboriginal Elders Corporation - Statement on the Significance of Sandon Point by Reuben Brown, Chairperson, 27 August 2001

Roy "Dootch" Kennedy, 'Kuradji', oil on board, August 2001.



SUBMISSION TO THE NEW SOUTH WALES LAND & ENVIRONMENT COURT

Stocklands Constructors Pty. Ltd. v Wollongong City Council Appeal 11071 of 2000

ON BEHALF ON THE NORTHERN ILLAWARRA RESIDENTS ACTION GROUP INC (NIRAG)

Regarding Aboriginal Heritage Issues

Carol Berry BA (Politics) LLB

{Assisted by B. Martin, M. Organ and a cast of thousands}

In regard to Aboriginal heritage concerns and Stage 1 of the Sandon Point development site, the Court is here to address the following points as per the Notice of Motion filed by Wollongong City Council on the 21st March 2001.

1. Whether consent should be granted having regard to the Aboriginal heritage significance of the development site.

2. Whether the application should be approved before the preparation of an Aboriginal Heritage Study in relation to the development site.

3. Whether the application should be approved having regard to the impact of the proposal on the Aboriginal heritage significance of the development site.

NIRAG has two principal concerns we wish to outline to the Court in regard to Aboriginal heritage issues on Stage 1 of the Sandon Point site.

Firstly, the archaeological Statement of Evidence produced by Navin Officer, on behalf of Stocklands, is inadequate in a number of ways to satisfy the Court that the issues of Aboriginal heritage and archaeology on this site have been properly investigated and addressed.

Secondly, a comprehensive, consultative and objective Aboriginal heritage study needs to be conducted on the entire site, including Stage 1, before a decision can be made regarding this development.

I will begin by outlining to the Court why the Study conducted by Navin Officer is inadequate in relation to the aforementioned issues.

Firstly, Mr Kelvin Officer did not provide persuasive evidence that the Aboriginal consultation process was adequate throughout the completion of Navin Officer's Stage 1 Archaeological Testing Program.

Mr Roy Kennedy, who was involved in the preparation of the brief for the Stage 1 Archaeological Subsurface Testing Program, has within his affidavit dated 23rd August 2001 expressed concerns in regard to the manner in which the Testing Program was subsequently undertaken and reported upon within the Navin Officer document (exhibit K) of August 2001.

Mr Kennedy has stated within his affidavit at Paragraph 15 that, and I quote;

15. The deficiencies of this sketchy archaeological survey of the area are too numerous for all of them to be included in a brief affidavit. Some of the deficiencies are listed below:

(1) The required consultation with the Aboriginal community has not been carried out.

(2) The report by Navin Officer Heritage Consultants, "Sandon Point Residential Subdivision Stage 1 Development Area Archaeological Subsurface Testing Program" (August 2001) claims that "It was agreed that Aboriginal community groups were to identify the areas to be investigated." (page 1). This did not take place, and the Aboriginal community was bypassed.

(3) Without conducting a full and comprehensive study, the consultants concluded "The potential for in-situ Aboriginal artefactual material to occur within Stage 1 development area is nil." This process of reaching a conclusion before a full study is carried out, defeats the purpose of a study in the first place.

Furthermore, in Paragraph 17, Mr Kennedy states;

17. Either the consultants misunderstood the contents of the brief, or were unaware of the local knowledge of the spiritual significance of the Sandon Point area to the Aboriginal people. The whole area, including Sandon Point and the midden site referred to in 16 above, are interconnected. Together they form part of the area which the Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council voted unanimously to have registered as an Aboriginal Place of State Significance.

The concerns of NIRAG in regard to consultation are as follows;

No Site Officer reports have been attached to exhibit K (the Statement of Evidence) to verify that those Aboriginal representatives who oversaw the conduct of the archaeological investigation were satisfied that the process was adequately consultative. We have noted, Commissioner, and believe it is important to bring to your attention that no verification as to the adequacy of the process has been provided by the Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council.

Mr Jim Davis presented a statement on behalf of the Wodi Wodi Elders, only one of the 5 traditional owner groups who have interests in the Site and who are specifically referred to in the Navin Officer report.

Statements were tendered in Court yesterday from Mr Ruben Brown, Chairperson of the Korewal Elouera Jerrungarugh Tribal Elders Aboriginal Corporation and Mr Craig Brown, representative of that Group as Site Officer on the Stage 1 Archaeological Testing program.

Mr Craig Brown's statement of the 27th of August 2001 points out that concerns were raised by him during the dig in regard to the extent and comprehensiveness of the Archaeological Testing Program as it was being undertaken. He states;

"I also recommended to [Stockland's archaeologists] Tom Knight and Sue McIntyre that there should be more excavation done and that the pits be bigger and deeper. Why wasn't this done?"

Furthermore Ruben Brown's statement of 27th August 2001 outlines in some detail issues connected with the Aboriginal cultural significance of the Sandon Point site, including Stage 1. Mr Brown states;

"Sandon Point is a very significant area to me and my People as we are the descendants of the traditional people, the Elouera....Tribe."

Concerns and comments which we have seen expressed in the statements of Mr Ruben Brown and Mr Craig Brown reinforce the statements of Mr Kennedy within his affidavit, and point to concerns present within the general Aboriginal community in regards to the management of Aboriginal archaeological and cultural heritage issues at Sandon Point.

Stocklands presented as a witness Mr Jim Davis to support their assertion that the Stage 1 Archaeological Subsurface Testing Program was adequately consultative. Mr. Davis, as he verified in his oral submissions, was on the site on three occasions, and did not stay on site for any substantial period of time, in fact he indicated he was present for half an hour at a time at most.

Mr Davis has given evidence that the dig was consultative but he was not one of the Site Officers.

Mr Fullager, in his statement of 22 August 2001, clearly indicated his concerns with regards to the Aboriginal cultural heritage significance issue, and recommended that Wollongong City Council contact the 5 traditional owner groups for comment on the report.

We would suggest that these groups have had limited time to comment on the report in any substantive manner as, for example, the Korewal Elouera Jerrungarugh Tribal Elders Aboriginal Corporation only received a copy of the report on Thursday 23 August 2001.

NIRAG's principal concern in regard to the archaeological study conducted by Navin Officer is that it is limited in its scope and research methodology and is not adequately comprehensive or consultative.

For example,

Of major concern to NIRAG in regards to the Archaeological Subsurface Testing Program is that the trenches as agreed to by Dr Fullager and Mr Kennedy and supplied in map form to all Sites Officers by Navin Officer were to be 10 x 20 metres, that is, covering an area of 20 square metres.

The pits as dug appear to cover an area of approximately 5 square metres. That is, one quarter or 25% of the area originally agreed to.

The 6 spade pits along the southern boundary of the site were not trenched as per agreement.

We have now heard from the evidence of Tom Knight that Kelvin Officer and Richard Fullager varied the dig methodology as previously agreed to by Mr Fullager and Mr Kennedy. The 10 x 2 metre trenches were changed to 2 x 2 metre pits or holes.

Pit X1 as described in the Navin Officer report, is in fact outside of Stage 1. Therefore the archaeological testing program coverage of the Stage 1 site is not as comprehensive as a superficial reading of the study report would initially suggest. As a result, apart from the 6 spade pits dug along the southern boundary / fencelike area, in fact only 2 tests pits were excavated on the remainder of the site.

Therefore, extensive sections of the Stage 1 site have not been subject to any archaeological subsurface testing program. Specifically, this is in the large central area of the site - that is, to the north of the southern fence line, in the vicinity of the tramway embankments.

No map is supplied in the Navin Officer report which outlines the extent of the area of the site which contains original soil profiles. Geomorphological evidence contained both within the Navin Officer report and Network Geotechnics Pty Ltd, Geotechnical Assessment and Pavement Thickness Design, Proposed Residential Subdivision, Stage 1, Hill Street, Sandon Point, Report for Rose Consulting Group, of November 2000, suggest that these original soil profiles extend over more than 50% of the site, in the area indicated within the previous paragraph.

These original soil profiles, though in many instances disturbed, are, according to the Navin Officer report, most likely to contain artefacts. We would suggest that further investigations are necessary in this area to ensure a comprehensive coverage of the site. As it stands, and due to the limitations of the study carried out so far, doubt must be raised with regards to the summary conclusions of the Navin Officer report. For example, the statement that:

"The density of Aboriginal artefactual material within the Stage 1 development area is very low and has no archaeological significance."

or

"The potential for in situ Aboriginal artefactual material to be present within the Stage 1 development area is considered to be nil."

It is NIRAG's concern that this Study lacks any substantial Aboriginal heritage or cultural comment from Aboriginal groups.

This study, Commissioner, is not a comprehensive Aboriginal heritage study. It is a basic archaeological survey. It does not contain adequate information to enable the Court to make an informed decision in regard to the Aboriginal cultural heritage values or significance of this site.

Wollongong City Council resolved on the 19th March of this year that they required a Heritage Study to be conducted on the entire Sandon Point site, including Stage 1, before making a decision in regard to development on this site. Council minutes in regard to discussion about Sandon Point said:

1. The development application for the Sandon Point site is being deferred until satisfactory consultation has taken place with National Parks and Wildlife Service in relation to Aboriginal Heritage.

2. No decision is being made...until an independent, adequate, representative and comprehensive Aboriginal heritage study has been completed on the area under the guidance of the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the NSW Heritage Council.

The Brief for this study was finalised and put out to tender on the 22nd June 2001.

NIRAG submits to the Court that development on this site cannot be approved until the independent and objective Aboriginal heritage study approved by Council, the National Parks and Wildlife Service, and, most importantly, the Aboriginal groups of the Illawarra, has been conducted and considered by the Court.

In order to fully understand the significance of the site, a comprehensive, consultative and objective Aboriginal heritage study must be undertaken. Wollongong City Council, and the Wollongong City Council Aboriginal Liaison Committee have requested that such a study be carried out on the whole Sandon Point site, inclusive of Stage 1.

In April of 2001, after receiving the Study Brief outlining the Survey Methodology that Stocklands wished to undertake on Stage 1, Mr Kennedy consulted with the Aboriginal Liaison Committee of Wollongong City Council, with Aboriginal groups in the area, and there was further consultation with the National Parks and Wildlife Service regarding Stockland's study brief.

This consultation resulted in an expanded, comprehensive and adequate Aboriginal Heritage study brief attached to Mr Roy Kennedy's affidavit. This was the consultative Aboriginal Heritage Study that the full Wollongong City Council had resolved on 19 March 2001 to be conducted before the development at Sandon Point would be approved.

This Study has not been conducted Commissioner.

Stocklands refused to participate in this Study.

Instead, Commissioner, you have before you today a document which is neither comprehensive, independent, adequate or representative and does not present to the Court all the information required to make a decision in regard to this development.

In fact, the National Parks & Wildlife Service is still awaiting the results of the Aboriginal Heritage Study, on which they had input into the preparation of the Brief, and which will enable them to decide whether the Sandon Point site is going to be designated an Aboriginal Place of Significance under the Act by the Minister.

The National Parks and Wildlife service have indicated that such a declaration may be warranted.

A letter dated 1 August 2001, written by Brian Gilligan, the Director General of the National Parks and Wildlife Service, states, and I quote:

"As previously advised, the National Parks and Wildlife Service has an expectation that an appropriate level of assessment will be undertaken as part of the Wollongong City Council's Aboriginal Heritage Study. The National Parks and Wildlife Service understands that the tender for the Aboriginal Heritage Study closed on the 22nd June 2001. On completion of the Study the National parks and Wildlife Service will review the resulting report.... Investigations related to the Aboriginal Place Declaration at Sandon Point suggest that an Aboriginal Place declaration may be warranted..."

NIRAG submits that it is imperative that the Court defer its judgment in regard to development of Stage 1 until a comprehensive, independent and adequate Aboriginal Heritage Study of the whole Sandon Point site, INCLUDING Stage 1, has been completed, as per the resolution of Wollongong City Council on 19 March 2001, and as per the Aboriginal Heritage issues currently before the Court.


2. Korewal (La Perouse) Elouera (Illawarra) Jerrungarugh (Shoalhaven) Aboriginal Elders Corporation (KEJ) - Statement on the Significance of Sandon Point, by Reuben Brown, Chairperson, 27 August 2001:

The Bulli Sandon Point area was and still is a very significant place of the area. Sandon Point was the meeting place where the Chief of the Illawarra would meet the Chief of the Gundangarra People to trade and tell stories.

Sandon Point is a very significant area to me and my People as we are the descendents of the traditional People the Elouera = Illara = Illowrie Tribe. That is, Sandon Point is very important to us and there was a lot of movement at the area - Meeting, Camping, Toolmaking, Storytelling, Abundance of Seafood, Bushtucker, Bush Medicines, Fresh Water.

It is of spiritual significance and part of out cultural heritage. Every Aboriginal that occupied these lands used these tracks to move throughout their territory and meet with out people. They knew every geographic feature and precise boundaries between their lands. Stories have been passed down orally.

This land is not unsung land. It is of ancient and sacred significance. It is our history as much as any other's history......

Sandon Point to us means Ngurumbaan = The Past, The Present, The Future.

Bulli Pass was an Aboriginal Dreaming Track - today it serves everyone.

Reuben Brown, Chairperson of the Korewal (La Perouse) Elouera (Illawarra) Jerrungarugh (Shoalhaven) Aboriginal Elders Corporation.


This site also contains copies of official media releases from the Kuradji Aboriginal Tent Embassy at Sandon Point, New South Wales. The following media releases are reproduced below:

  1. 3 January 2001 - Sandon Point Tent Embassy
  2. 4 February 2001 - Sandon Point Tent Embassy
  3. 14 February 2001 - Sandon Point Tent Embassy
  4. 15 February 2001 - Sandon Point Tent Embassy - Guboo's Statement for Press Conference
  5. 20 February 2001 - Sandon Point Tent Embassy
  6. 10 May 2001 - Sandon Point Tent Embassy, Bugeen Creek, Kuradji

Group of supporters of the Sandon Point Aboriginal Tent Embassy, Saturday, 10 February 2001. Seated, in front, is distinguished South Coast elder Guboo Ted Thomas. Also present are Roy "Dootch" Kennedy (local Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Officer), Peter Button, Carol Speechley and NSW Legislative Council member Arthur Chesterfield-Evans, MLC.


MEDIA RELEASE #1 - 3 January 2001
SANDON POINT TENT EMBASSY

An Aboriginal Tent Embassy has been established on McCauley's Beach at Sandon Point, Bulli.

The coals used to light the Sacred Fire originated from Tent Embassy fires all across the country, and were carried here in a ceremonial coolamon.

The fire will remain alight to show respect to the people who have lived here, died here and been buried here for tens of thousands of years before white invasion.

The Sandon Point Tent Embassy camp is here to highlight the importance of the area, which is being threatened by a huge (428-lot) housing "development" plan.

There are many Aboriginal sites on this land, ranging from middens to burial sites.

The Aboriginal community know that some skeletons, remains and relics have already been moved from this area. This has been kept secret and covered up by a multitude of government departments, including Wollongong City Council,

who have not informed or involved the community adequately.

We want the area nationally listed under the Heritage Act.

The proposed housing development for this site will have a detrimental impact on the local Aborigines' cultural right to identify with their land and their spirituality.

This proposed housing development is a direct act of cultural genocide.

The wider community and the media are invited to come to Sandon Point Tent Embassy and sit with the Aboriginal people to discuss the cultural values and the preservation of this land.

For more information and to arrange interviews contact:

Media Officer: Karen Gough 02 42 681305 (h) 0414 681301 (m)


View looking south-west across the Tramway Creek lagoon, towards the Tent Embassy.


MEDIA RELEASE #2 - 4 February 2001
SANDON POINT TENT EMBASSY

My sweet Lord Mayor Mr George Harrison,

At a time and an Era when reconciliation is high on the agenda of all 3 tiers of government, We have in our own Local Government Area, a section of land, between Thirroul & Bulli, where Indigenous & European heritage is under threat by developers.

I am an Indigenous Australian whose concerns are not just for the Indigenous heritage of this area, but also for the European heritage in this area.

In early March 1998 a skull had become visible in the sand dunes on McCauley's Beach due to big seas.

As a result of this find, an Archaeological salvage excavation was requested by the Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council (ILALC) of which I was the Chairperson & Cultural Heritage Officer of, at that time. I am still a Cultural Heritage Officer DBFCR.

By mid May 98 over 3 to 4 days the above excavation was carried out by a team of 15. Eight (8 ) members of this team are Indigenous people from the Illawarra community. 2 members of this team are Aboriginal Sites Officers.

During this operation and repatriation and well after the event, the importance of this find had remained a secret in our community, up until recent plans were revealed to our community, regarding development near this site.

Upon this revelation, other concerns were raised to me by residents, about the whole development. This included rumours of other skeletal remains being removed from the site and neighbouring areas.

Due to the ILALC inability to pursue or investigate some of these concerns, The Aboriginal Tent Embassy was established, to find out as much information about the whole development, so that a report could be tendered to our own community.

However during the course of our own inquiries, it became evident that nobody (i.e. several Statutory Bodies), was about to disclose what has been happening.

It seems to me that many Government agencies along with our own local Government, are guilty of covering up their own inabilities to follow procedure as outlined in their own charters of operation.

It is common knowledge that individuals, companies and Corporate giants sponsor campaigns for all Tiers of Government so that in the event that their preferred party does win office, that future proposals & or developments by these individuals and these groups are considered favourably.

Backdoor agreements are not a thing of the past and undermining of the broader community's concerns are common practices of all Governments and Corporate giants.

Governments as well as Corporate giants, rely on community ignorance, however in this instance, the powers that be have been caught out by an Intelligent community and as a result of that are back-pedalling to address concerns that should have been addressed before our local government considered the development application before them.

I have since been told that our local government had notified the ILALC, & did not receive a response, Why ? Is the ILALC disclosing information to their community on this important issue or are they making decisions without

community consultation as well ?

It is incredible that a small group of Aboriginal people had to establish an Aboriginal Tent Embassy at McCauley's Beach, to highlight the fact that certain procedures had not been followed to the letter by both sides.

Yes we have caused media attention, but we have also drawn out some of the ignorance that exists within our own City Council, ignorant people like Rod Oxley our General Manager making statements like "if there's anything to be

found the bobcats & backhoes waiting to carve up the place will find them" (taken from the Australian 19/1/2001 page 4) and My Sweet Lord Mayor Mr George Harrison said the discovery of more remains would be of little

consequence, "So what ?" he said. (Illawarra Mercury 25/1/01 page 2).

If this local government wants reconciliation with our people why are they not following their own Statement of Reconciliation under strategy 5 i.e.; Aboriginal Heritage & Culturally significant sites will be protected from

inappropriate development.

These questions lay begging for answers!

Where are our missing bodies?

Where is Wollongong City Council's commitment to Reconciliation ?

What the hell is happening at McCauley's ?

MIRRIUL WIRRIN MININ -THE CREATOR WILL NOT ALLOW IT

DOOTCH (Roy Kennedy) Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Officer DBFCR

phone: 0402609213


View looking south-east towards Sandon Point, with the sacred fire in the right foreground. This fire has travelled from the Tent Embassy at Canberra, via Victoria Park, Sydney, and Cockatoo Island.


MEDIA RELEASE #3 - 14 February 2001
SANDON POINT TENT EMBASSY

Notice of Media Conference and Naming Ceremony to be held 11am Thursday 15/2/01

We invite you to meet Guboo (Uncle Ted Thomas), the oldest living Lore Man of the Yuin Nation, at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy on Kuradji, beside Bugeen Creek (formerly referred to as McCauley's Beach, Bulli).

Guboo will make a statement about the significance of the area to his people and why he has come to support us on site.

Uncle Guboo is one of our most respected elders on the South Coast who has travelled the world meeting other indigenous spiritual leaders such as the Dalai Lama and Native American Indian Chiefs, as well as teaching, healing

and sharing his wisdom and culture with people who come to his camps, black and white.

You are welcome to attend his ceremony.

Further Information -

contact Media Officer ~ Karen Gough 0414 681301


View from Sandon Point, looking north-west towards the Tent Embassy in the middle distance.


SANDON POINT TENT EMBASSY
Media Release #4 - Guboo's Statement for Press Conference held 15 February 2001

Guboo says-

This has all come about because of Spirit through me, through you too, through you talking to me. We are all one.

What the spirits want to do they are telling me.

Every morning when I wake up I pray to the Great Spirit and I watch the sun rise. In the evening when the sun goes down I pray again - that is going on all the time - and through me the Spirit allows the land to be healed.

>From the Sacred Fire the smoke travelled right across this sacred land - over to Sandon Point, around the escarpment, across the sea and back to the fire.

Then it rained. It was a shower of blessing.

This is the best Dreaming Camp I have been to.

All these things come through Guboo's spirit, which comes from the Great Spirit, and allows all spirits to follow the Dreaming.


Group of local residents discussing issues with members of the Tent Embassy.


MEDIA RELEASE #5 - 20 February 2001
SANDON POINT ABORIGINAL TENT EMBASSY

To the Community, both black & white-

For the past two months the Sandon Point Aboriginal Tent Embassy (SPATE) has been attempting to enlighten the Local Government and other Statutory Bodies of the importance of this area, to the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal

community.

On the 19th February 2001, Wollongong City Council (WCC) made a decision to allow Stage One of the proposed developments at Sandon Point to go ahead.

SPATE and its supporters turned their backs on the WCC Labour Councillors and chanted "Shame, shame, shame", before leaving the Chambers.

Downstairs SPATE and its supporters congregated to air their disgust with the decision of Council, and were then informed by Uncle Guboo that he was not happy with the decision and that we should stage a sit in.

Upon that request, SPATE re-entered the Chambers to stage a sit in, to protest against the decision made.

When we attempted to air our grievances with the Mayor and other Labour Councillors, the Mayor in his wisdom decided to close the meeting and left the room.

Within a few minutes the Mayor returned to the Chamber and tried to pacify the audience and SPATE with more of his lies. During this brief interlude, Dootch stated that WCC were not serious about Reconciliation, and that this decision was a direct Act of Cultural Genocide.

Dootch then requested that WCC remove the Aboriginal Flag from Council's flag pole out the front of WCC building as WCC Labour Councillors are not genuine about reconciliation.

It is obvious that WCC Labour Councillors have no concept of what is important to Aboriginal people and are not genuine by way of their Actions when it comes to reconciliation.

Tomorrow, representatives from SPATE will be speaking at the Regional Meeting for the United Nations World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance being held in Sydney.

SPATE will be advocating very strongly against Wollongong City Council Labour Councillors and their racist attitude towards our people in an Era when Reconciliation is high on the Agenda of all 3 Tiers of Government.

Without full consideration of our views, the general community's views, as well as breaches to procedure, WCC's Labour Councillors, apart from Clr Violet Pocock, have lost the opportunity to create a visible statement of Reconciliation and goodwill.

In a community that has united to protect an Aboriginal site of State Significance the battle lines have been drawn and SPATE will continue to advocate on behalf of our people, to highlight the ignorance, the arrogance, the misinformation, and lack of good will by a Local Government to the whole community.

Therefore SPATE is seeking the support of all Australians (Blackfellow, Whitefellow, doesn't matter what your colour) to end the lip service of all 3 Tiers of Governments. Come and support us visibly and physically at Sandon Point ~ at KURADJI WATERS on the banks of BUGEEN CREEK, fed from above by BUGEENA LAGOON.

If you are genuinely concerned about our future, and our children's future and want to create an environment in the true spirit of a Reconciliation, let's show the powers that be that they are elected by the people, for the people.

Let's end the lip service.

Tell them to put up or shut up in areas of Reconciliation.

And tell them to put away the double sided placards and T-Shirts that read "Progress and Dollars"

MIRRIUL WIRRIN MININ (The Creator will not allow it)

Regards,

Dootcha. (ph 0402 609 213)


Smoking from the sacred fire, Sandon Point, looking north-west across Tramway Lagoon towards the Tent Embassy, with the Illawarra Escarpment in the distance.


Media Release #6 - Thursday 10th May 2001
SANDON POINT ABORIGINAL TENT EMBASSY
BUGEEN CREEK KURADJI

As the Cultural Heritage Officer of the Illawarra & as spokesperson of the Sandon Point Aboriginal Tent Embassy (SPATE) at KURADJI, I seek to inform the community, both Black & White, that SPATE is not packing up or going anywhere at this moment in time.

Our initial objective was to enlighten the community on what our concerns were about KURADJI. However, from our ongoing presence & through community concern, other issues relating to Aboriginal Cultural Heritage began to surface.

It was then that we inquired about procedures that were not adhered to & requested that these procedures be followed to the letter & according to laws, by all Stakeholders and interest groups.

We were surprised at first that our actions had created a separate entity that brought to the fore issues regarding Aboriginal Cultural Heritage.

However, in creating this entity, we have caused other Authorities to be more accountable to their respective communities.

Since then, what we have witnessed in both our communities over the past several months, is widespread concern over the lack of information sharing and proper community consultation, as well as the total lack of genuine concern by those in power to enter into dialogue with the appropriate people to ensure that all those processes will occur.

Whilst attempting to achieve this, we are well aware that there are also those in the community that will oppose, discredit or try to defame those of us who are on this quest.

However, there is a brighter side to this whole scenario that inspires me to maintain the Embassy.

People in general are concerned about the future of our country and how best can they be a part of developing that feeling/concept that brings our communities together so that we can all be proud in the knowledge that at last we have achieved something together.

Is this not what a True Reconciliation is about?

As a result of events at the recent Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council (ILALC) meeting, the Illawarra Aboriginal community has decided to hold a community meeting.

This meeting will discuss not only the recent decisions of the ILALC and its MOB RULE, but other issues such as Sandon Point and the direction our community is taking on other relevant issues.

Representatives from many groups will be meeting today (Thursday 10th May 2001 at 2 pm) at the Kemblawarra Community Hall cnr Parks Street & Kemblawarra Road COOMADITCHIE / KEMBLAWARRA ie;

IAC - Illawarra Aboriginal Corporation
CDEP - Community Development Employment Project
CUAC - Coomaditchie United Aboriginal Corporation
WWCAC - Wadi Wadi Coomaditchie Aboriginal Corporation
KEJ - Korewal EIouera Jerrungarugh Tribal Elders Corporation
DEC - Dharawal Elders Council
IAMS - Illawarra Aboriginal Medical Service
SPATE - Sandon Point Aboriginal Tent Embassy
AEU - Aboriginal Education Unit TAFEI University of Wollongong

Representatives from service organisations such as DOCS, Juvenile Justice, Centrelink, Illawarra Technology Centre, Local Government as well as the Illawarra Aboriginal Interagency will also be in attendance.

The reason for such a groundswell of concern is that this community has had enough of the inactions of our 3 tiers of Land Councils i.e.:

  1. Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council
  2. South Coast Regional Land Council
  3. NSW Aboriginal land Council

Following the meeting of our Community, a press conference will be held at 4 pm at this venue to inform you of the outcomes.

Mirriul Wirrin Mirrin: The Creator will not allow it

Regards
Dootch (Roy Kennedy) Mobile: 0402609213
See also - Sandon Point Picket web site.

Site last updated: 16 August 2001. Return to Michael Organ's Home Page. Any comments, corrections, or additions to this site are most welcome.

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