STATE GOVERNMENT DEVELOPMENT DESTROYS ANOTHER ABORIGINAL BURIAL GROUND
Above: Top L to R: Karno Walker, Mark Koolmatrie, Lynette Crocker, Stephen Goldsmith.
Above: pic below: Southern Expressway Duplication development – Aboriginal burial ground site.
After the Seaford Rail Extension, where Minister Portolesi gave the go ahead to destroy one of the most significant Aboriginal burial grounds discovered in South Australia in the past 50 years, yet another state government development, the Southern Expressway Duplication, has destroyed another Aboriginal burial ground, this time authorised by Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, Paul Caica. Aboriginal groups (Kaurna & Ramindjeri) were called in for 3 days to clean up the mess – unsure of the number of remains at this stage. They speak out about the destruction of yet another one of their ancestor’s burial grounds, lack of cultural monitors at sites, lack of meaningful consultation and lack of respect by the state government.
Stephen Goldsmith, Kaurna man:
“How many other desecrations have occurred? How many other desecrations will occur along the Southern Expressway extension? Even at the Adelaide oval redevelopment, a known site for Kaurna people, and the Royal Adelaide site, a very significant site for Kaurna people – no monitors there. They (state Labor government) refuse to allow us to protect our sacred heritage. How much has been destroyed? How much again will continue to be destroyed because of the arrogance and the ignorance of the state government, not allowing us to monitor these huge developments, which carve up our country”.
Mark Koolmatrie, Ramindjeri Heritage Assoc, member:
“The developer is the state government of South Australia. It is totally wrong what they are doing to us. It’s hard to talk about this because the government they’ve really done us over here. They’ve shown total disrespect for our people, total disrespect for burial sites that are right along here (Southern Expressway Duplication). There’s cultural significance right along this area. Now we aren’t against progress, but we are against the way we are being treated by the government. The South Australian state Labor government is a disgrace. There’s been no monitors here right from the start. Straight away the government showed their hand that we’re not interested in you black people. We are all feeling depressed by this, there’s lots of anger, and like anything when there’s build up there comes an explosion and I fear that. We are sovereign people of this land. We will do something about this. We’ve got to all band together and say no more to them.”
Lynette Crocker (Ngangki Burka), Senior Kaurna woman:
“They are destroying everything at the speed of knots and it’s just a disgusting display from the state government here. How in the hell can we be self determining when we are being gutted every day of the week. There is a moral and ethical process that’s just not happening. They (state government) pay lip service to reconciliation, they wont even recognise the Letters Patent, they’re in denial about their own history. And if nobody spoke up, like the truck driver, we would not have known (about the destruction of this burial ground). Now I think this is an indictment on how we are governed here in this state of South Australia and I’m bitterly, bitterly disappointed in the Premier Jay Weatherill and John Rau (Attorney General).”
Karno Walker, Sovereign tribal lawman and chairperson, spokesperson for Ramindjeri Heritage Assoc:
“The question we ask is how many other remains have they dug up without notifying us? Are the government trying to keep quite about it? We’ve lost a lot of remains since the Aboriginal Heritage Act come into play. No one has been charged or imprisoned or fined (for breaches of the Act). The Aboriginal Heritage Act is being used as a weapon against us. This is not reconciliation. Not to exercise our rights and beliefs, also shows dictatorship. Sovereignty is what we want. Independence and the rights of the people that come from the land, and the rights to negotiate, and the rights to discuss any cultural matters in regards to our land, on all levels, in any state around the country. Sovereignty is the key for our people.”
The South Australian Aboriginal Heritage Act gives the Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation Minister the power to authorise the protection or destruction (damage, disturb or interfere) of Aboriginal sites, objects or remains that may be found during development. Recent history shows that the state Labor Government have been authorising the destruction of Aboriginal sites on a regular basis, most noticeably their own developments. And now it seems the state government have stopped Aboriginal Cultural monitoring and scrutiny of major state government developments (Adelaide Oval and surrounds, Festival Centre bridge, Royal Adelaide Hospital, Southern Expressway). If you look at the Dept of Transport Project Impact Report, Aboriginal heritage is placed just before flora and fauna – there’s no thought of preservation, just destruction.
Enshrined into law by King William IV and the British Parliament in 1836, the “Letters Patent” is a legally binding document that established the state of South Australia. And unlike any other state in Australia or British colony at the time, it secured land rights for all of South Australia’s Aboriginal people (and descendants) and gave Aboriginal people the legal right to occupy and enjoy their land.
Contacts for further Information:
Ngangki Burka, Senior Kaurna woman
Mobile: 0468 349 510
Mobile: 0439 297 217
Sovereign tribal lawman and chairperson, spokesperson for Ramindjeri Heritage Assoc
Mobile: 0418 276 439
Ramindjeri Heritage Assoc, member.
Mobile: 0459 371 515
MAV Media Pty Ltd
Mobile: 0417 838 785