News

'Gympie Pyramid' sparks Aboriginal land rights claim

SACRED LAND: Kabi Kabi land rights activist Wit-booker says the so-called Gympie Pyramid, also known as Rocky Ridge, will be destroyed by Gympie highway by-pass construction, along with irreplaceable Aboriginal artefacts.
SACRED LAND: Kabi Kabi land rights activist Wit-booker says the so-called Gympie Pyramid, also known as Rocky Ridge, will be destroyed by Gympie highway by-pass construction, along with irreplaceable Aboriginal artefacts. Patrick Woods

AN ABORIGINAL land rights claim over the so-called "Gympie Pyramid" has put a potential legal road block in the way of plans for the Bruce Hwy's Gympie bypass.

Also known as Rocky Ridge, the area is noted for evidence of human habitation.

Kabi Kabi activist Wit-booker, says plans to bulldoze the area for a new Bruce Hwy breach international conventions on cultural genocide.

He says artefacts on the site, including grinding stones, are the work of his ancestors and show a strong and recurring Aboriginal identification with the site.

GYMPIE Pyramid artefacts, attributed by some to ancient Egyptians or unrecorded Chinese or Italian settlers, are really highly significant Aboriginal artefacts, Kabi Kabi activist Wit-booka said yesterday.

Also known as Southside resident Gary Tomlinson, he says he has taken back his Aboriginal identity and says the land at Rocky Ridge shows important signs of Aboriginal land management denied by people who wish to portray his people as primitive.

The area and its artefacts are vital to the wellbeing of his people and the preservation of their culture, he said.

Rocks in the hillside show indentations which he says have been worn into the solid stone by centuries of use for grinding grass and other seed grains to make the original damper.

He says he is determined to stop the "cultural genocide" which has hurt Gympie region's Aboriginal people.

"After 200 years, we have nothing," he said.

Charged with trespassing and obstructing police over an incident at another claimed sacred site at Belli Park, Mr Booker says the charges against him were discontinued.

The site was a traditional gathering site for the Bunya nut festivities, held in hinterland areas when the nuts of the Bunya Pine were in season.

He says one elder in his group was refused permission to use a toilet and told to "go in the bush" while guards made videos on their mobile phones.

"We're only following the law," he said yesterday. "The government's not."

He and his supporters claim the authority of international law on the treatment of indigenous peoples and say too many Australians seem to think those laws and treaties only apply to other countries.

He also quotes 19th Century British colonial law, specifically the Pacific Islanders Protection Act of 1875, which refers to the "Australasian colonies" and guarantees the sovereign rights of indigenous people.

More recently came the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, adopted in 1948 as part of the human rights guarantees following on from the Allied victory over Nazism and related philosophies.

It led to Australia's Genocide Convention Act of 1949 which outlawed genocide in Australia and included in its definition "causing mental harm to members of the group, inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction, or forcibly transferring children of the group to another group." Wit-booka says he is campaigning to preserve Kabi Kabi culture, including preventing the state government from bulldozing an area he says is a sacred site.

Gympie Times

Topics:  editors picks land rights native title



Foodies' scavenger hunt: are you up for it?

IF YOU want to give your tastebuds the flavour sensations of a lifetime, here is the ultimate foodie’s scavenger hunt through Brisbane.

5 minutes with Israel Folau on footy, life and love

Israel Folau and Silver Fern netballer Maria Tutaia announced their engagement last last year.

WE CAUGHT up with football star and Brisbane ex-pat Israel Folau.

10 reasons to head to South Bank this summer

Head to the only inner-city beach in Australia!

South Bank has a ridiculous amount of fun things to do.

Five mammoth events you need in your life

No Caption

BRISBANE isn’t known for doing things by halves…

How to make your child's every dream come true...

Take a dip at South Bank in the inner-city beach.

‘I DON’T want to do fun things, Mum and Dad’… said no child ever!

How to do Eat Street the right way

Know where to start and where to end to avoid a huge food coma before you get to experience all the goodies!

EVERY Friday and Saturday night, Hamilton comes alive.

You can do WHAT in Brisbane?!

Talk about arriving in style! Take your pub crawl to the next level with a helicopter!

BET you didn't know you could do these things in Brisbane...

Victory's new principal brings international experience

BRAND NEW YEAR: Victory College's new principal, Brett Costin.

Meet Victory College's new principal Brett Costin.

Kandanga butcher aims to snag national crown

MISSING LINK: Mitch Perkins is hoping to become the National Sausage King.

Mitchell Perkins is hoping to be declared sausage king of Australia.

Employers: Are you ready for the backpacker tax?

FARM WORK: Backpacker wages are now taxed at 15%, and employers have been asked to register with the ATO to ensure a smooth transition.

There's one thing you need to do by January 31

Local Partners

Kristen Stewart to host SNL

Kristen Stewart will host a pre-Super Bowl episode of SNL next month

Louis Tomlinson celebrated his son's first birthday

Louis Tomlinson and Briana Jungwirth celebrate son's first birthday

Kylie Minogue will take husband's name

Kylie Minogue will take her fiancé Joshua Sasse's surname

Nicole reveals her biggest parenting challenges

Actress Nicole Kidman.

Nicole Kidman says her kids are ‘deeply attuned' to her moods.

Suicide Squad director reveals his regrets about the film

Margot Robbie in a scene from the movie Suicide Squad.

DIRECTOR of superhero flick on what he’d change about ‘flawed’ film.

Meet the new Marco on MasterChef Australia: Yotam Ottolenghi

Israeli-born, London-based chef Yotam Ottolenghi will be a guest chef for a week on the 2017 season of MasterChef Australia.

AFTER Marco’s defection to Seven, MasterChef signs a true food hero.

Stockland's $150m pitch: Build it and they will come

Gladstone Marina. The Gladstone Regional Council offers a range of exciting job opportunities. Photo Contributed: Murray Ware.

Here's why we need to see Stockland upgrade start soon.

By the water's edge

Secure your seachange

Gympie attracts buyers looking for affordable seachange

Core Logic property statistics reveal the region's median house price dropped 3.4% to $269,000 in the September quarter.

Median house price drops 3.4% to $269,000 in the September quarter

HOT PROPERTY: Money to spend on land, buildings

File picture.

Sale, leasing of industrial real estate picks up in Mackay

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!