Bagawa history book important elders? business
By UTE SCHULENBERG
GUMBULA Julipi elders had some important business to discuss with actor Jack Thompson yesterday.
As project patron for their soonto-be-published history of the local Bagawa tribe, the elders were keen to show Mr Thompson a mock-up of the book, for which he is writing the forward.
"White fellas don't believe anything unless it's in a book, and here it is," Mr Thompson said.
Elder Ken Craig said the book was important because it showed the cultural importance of the entire harbour area to local indigenous people.
"The timing of this (book) is good with the talk about the Harbourside Plan," Uncle Ken said.
"It shows how the whole area was a special meeting place for Aboriginal people.
"We would like to see it continue as a meeting place for all people with plenty of open space.
"There should be no building east of the railway."
He said the timber and shipping industries had destroyed the original dunes.
"We want to see the dunes cared for. Dunecare has been doing a marvellous job . . . also with our young people."
Another elder Elaine Turnbull said they were concerned about the minimal consultation with the indigenous community by the council about the plan.
"We are excited about this book because it helps put our point of view across," Ms Turnbull said.
"We hope the rest of the community will support us."
Mr Thompson, who is currently Ambassador for Reconciliation Australia, said long ago he had realised there was an exotic foreign culture just outside his window.
"Now finally this country is coming to realise what I've known all my life. Aboriginal tradition was an oral one and we must gather it whereever we can, so that it remains. The Arabs gave us algebra . . . who knows what we might learn from this ancient culture."