Environment Minister under renewed pressure to stop destruction of Aboriginal heritage

Australian Greens

Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley is under renewed pressure to prevent mining giant Glencore from destroying Aboriginal heritage and land in the Hunter Valley, as further evidence of the site’s violent history comes to light.

Wonnarua Traditional Owners have lodged an application to protect the heritage and land surrounding the Ravensworth Estate and Homestead, which holds deep significance for First Nations people in the Hunter Valley and across the country.

Greens MP David Shoebridge has launched a month of ‘truth telling,’ partnering with Wonnarua Traditional Owners on videos exposing the history of the site and a petition calling for its preservation. Today we are launching the second video in a four part series telling a small part of the truth of Australia’s Frontier Wars.

Greens MP and Aboriginal Justice Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:

“We’re working with Traditional Owners to expose the history of colonial violence against the Wonnarua People and to preserve the site and protect the land from being bulldozed for an expanded open-cut coal mine.

“The truth of Frontier violence against First Nations communities in the Hunter Valley and across Australia should be taught in schools and these sites must be preserved and respected, not excavated for environmentally destructive mining.

“The landscape surrounding Ravensworth holds deep significance for First Nations people in the Hunter Valley and across the country. These stories are painful but demand to be told – we can’t erase this violent history by wiping it off the map. It’s offensive to even consider digging up massacre sites and burial places to extract coal.

“After Rio Tinto’s devastating destruction of the Juukan Gorge, the community has made it clear that it stands with First Nations people in their struggle to protect land and culture from the mining and fossil fuel industries,” Mr Shoebridge said.

A decision on the application for protection lodged by Wonnarua Traditional Owners under the Commonwealth Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act is now pending.

The videos are being released to coincide with the corresponding events 195 years ago:

1 August 2021: The execution of Jacky Jacky and the following acquittal of Lieutenant Lowe

12 August 2021: The capture and execution of 7 Aboriginal men by the Mounted Police

The petition to support the Wonnarua people’s campaign is here.

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