Hwy legal battle looms
GYMPIE region Aboriginal people have had enough of governments that break their own heritage laws and continue to destroy indigenous culture, Gary Tomlinson declared on an east Gympie hillside yesterday.
It is a landscape of sacred sites and relics, some much older than the relatively recent ancient Egyptians (claimed by some to have colonised the area).
The grindstones and ceremony spots he can point out were built, he says, not by anyone visiting from anywhere else, but by his people - the first people.
"The first people anywhere," he said yesterday.
"The first humans were Australians. We all came from the stars and the Aboriginal people have all the genes of all the people of the world," he said.
He blasted the state government for digging up some of the earliest evidence of human civilisation in the near-Gympie area and one of the few cultural sites his Kabi Kabi people have left.
He knows what he wants will not be easy to achieve, however.
It will involve an uphill political and legal battle much more formidable than the physical hill on which we stand, the one some people call the Gympie Pyramid.
Mr Tomlinson said preservation of the area would require re-routing the Gympie by-pass section of the Cooroy-to-Curra Bruce Hwy upgrade.
And work, even here, is already in the survey and pre-construction phase.
"We're not trying to obstruct anyone. They can go around the other side of the railway line and get the highway through that way," he said.
The signs he planted in the area, after evicting a team of Main Roads contractors on Monday, put his position clearly.
"Private Property... No Entry... sacred site," they declare, citing the Queensland Cultural Heritage Act and fines for individuals up to $500,000 per offence and $10 million for companies.
"We need to put up a fight somewhere, and now's the time," he said. "This and Mimburi (see previous page) are all we have left," he said.