Activist won’t stop fighting for the Kimberley

September 9, 2011
Rodney Augustine.

Rodney Augustine is from the Nyulnyu and Jabirrjabirr people. He is a spokesperson for the “Walmadan Country is Calling” group and is a member of the “Keep the Kimberley” group, both based in Melbourne.

He will speak at the Climate Change Social Change activist conference in Melbourne, over September 30 to October 3.

He spoke to Green Left Weekly’s Rachel Evans about the campaign against the planned gas hub facility at James Price Point, near Broome in Western Australia.

* * *

My mother comes from a place just north of James Price Point and my father comes from just south of the point and we want to stop the proposed gas [hub] and keep the country the way it is. This is an issue that affects everyone in the [Dampier] peninsula.

We want to save this beautiful piece of land, with the dinosaur prints and dreaming. We want to hold onto our cultural songs and dances and our sites — our sacred sites. We want to save the Lurrijurri Trail — even though this is not the county of my mob.

I don’t care how long it takes. No money is going to change how I feel about this. The company offered us great opportunities — my sister and I — trying to tempt us with money. And it is very tempting.

Before they came, there was no opportunity for us — ecotourism was the only good thing — and the ball started to roll with that but then the gas company came in and showed lots of money and some couldn’t resist it.

Some elders signed onto the gas deal thinking they would look after us. My mum signed up thinking her kids would benefit.

The company said to people: “Take this offer that we are giving you or we will compulsorily acquire your land.”

People signed up thinking their land would be taken anyway. The Kimberley Land Council was told by the company that they had to take the offer or they’d be in court for a very long time. So they signed up to it.

It was good the Kimberley was declared a World Heritage site, but we don’t trust the company to stay out of that area.

White, black, rich, poor people are all very angry up there. Many live up there to get away from the big city, to enjoy the space. It’s isolated. It’s the real Australia.

Last Christmas my family and I drove up to my mother’s country and I stopped the car and asked everyone to listen. To stop and listen to nothing — it was so quiet. We are not used to it.

They are finding new dinosaur prints and new fossils on the beach, fishing traps that Aboriginal people used to build — they are still there, laying open on the beach.

It is an important area for history. A lot of people don’t see these things because they don’t know what to look for.

We’re not going to stop fighting to save the Kimberley — Walmadan country.


You are doing a great job Rodney! SAFE this place, it is the best place in the World! It's a pity these people don't have a clue about the value of the nature here...! safe JJP. DON'T stop the fight! Ingetje Tadros, Broome
Fantastic effort Rodney,well done to you and your sister.

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