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Protester burnt in Lake Cowal Camp Incident

Published by MAC on 2004-02-13


Protester burnt in Lake Cowal Camp Incident

Media Release - Wiradjuri cultural camp

13 February 2004

A protester has received burns to the upper body, requiring hospital treatment, during an incident at the Lake Cowal Wiradjuri cultural camp.

Protester, Adrian Trivett, was scalded when a fireman attempted to put out the sacred fire smouldering at the Wiradjuri cultural camp.

"Two New South Wales police from West Wyalong and three firemen came to the camp yesterday (12 February 2004) to extinguish our sacred fire, breaching s. 116 of the Australian Constitution which guarantees us our religious freedom," said Neville 'Chappy' Williams, Wiradjuri Traditional Owner in charge of the camp.

"When Adrian was leaning over our sacred fire to protect it, a fireman hosed the smouldering fire. The resulting steam billowed up from the hot ash, scalding Adrian's bare chest. He was taken to West Wyalong hospital by ambulance for treatment to his serious burns.

"I was not at the camp at the time, but Adrian Trivett was acting under my instructions to protect the sacred fire. Land and fire go hand in hand. Aboriginal people have been using fire on this land for millennia. We also have a fire management plan in place at the camp.

Earlier this week, the ABC reported that David Tucker, Barrick Gold public affairs manager, said that campers would be asked soon to move from the site on the Travelling Stock Route near the entrance to the Lake Cowal Game Reserve. The company is attempting to move the Game Reserve and part of the Travelling Stock Route to make way for mining construction to begin. They have done this without consultation with the Mooka and Kalara united families who are Native Title applicants and claimants for the Lake Cowal area.

"We won't be moving one inch. Aboriginal sovereignty was never ceded over our country.

"My attempts to halt a gold mine at Lake Cowal, sacred heartland to Traditional Wiradjuri, have been running for several years. My supporters include many Traditional Wiradjuri based in Condobolin and other places in New South Wales and the ACT. Many non-Aboriginal activists and conservationists from around Australia and other countries have also joined us in our fight to save our sacred lake," Mr Williams said.

Contacts:

Neville Williams 0416 316 774

Lake Cowal Wiradjuri Cultural Camp 0415 218 131

 

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