Brighton bypass disturbing sacred site

September 26, 2009

"The whole area is full of Aboriginal artefacts and the archaeologists' reports indicate that it is probably one of the most extensive, if not the most extensive find of Aboriginal heritage in the state", Michael Mansell, legal director of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre (TAC), told ABC Hobart on September 16.

He was referring to Aboriginal artefacts discovered during digging for the Brighton town bypass. The highway construction, worth $164 million, is to reduce the flow of traffic through the town of Brighton in Tasmania.

TAC has said that if construction on the site does not stop, protesters will blockade the worksite.

Archaeological reports show three separate studies concluded the area contains significant sites.

Aboriginal Elder and former Tasmanian Aboriginal Land and Sea Council manager, Jim Everett, said: "This hurts, it cuts really deep, to think that for the sake of driver comfort our Government would consider sacrificing irreplaceable Aboriginal heritage", in the August 23 Hobart Mercury.

"We will take whatever action is needed to make this stop, whether that be legal action under the Aboriginal Relics Act, representations to the minister and Premier or, if necessary, protesting", Mansell told the Mercury.

Construction of the bypass continued on September 21 while at the airport, a welcoming ceremony took place. The event welcomed the return of the remains of Tasmanian Aboriginal people, stolen in the 19th century by British institutions. The remains have been repatriated from Scotland and England, but the TAC is calling on Oxford and Cambridge universities to return Aboriginal remains still held there.

You need Green Left, and we need you!

Green Left is funded by contributions from readers and supporters. Help us reach our funding target.

Make a One-off Donation or choose from one of our Monthly Donation options.

Become a supporter to get the digital edition for $5 per month or the print edition for $10 per month. One-time payment options are available.

You can also call 1800 634 206 to make a donation or to become a supporter. Thank you.