Campbelltown NSW has the start of a Tent Embassy as First Nations people gather to raise their voice over the protection of land and wildlife in Airds
Kimberley Caines Macarthur Chronicle - Campbelltown 12 August 2014
Mudgoolagong, Pop and Gungadin
(Image: Macarthur Chronicle - Robert Pozo)
Koori Pete said he welcomed the community support and encouraged residents to visit the site to show their interest.
Macarthur Chronicle Facebook page readers were largely supportive of the campaign and many asked how they could help.
“I’m so, so happy. Some of our own people are derogatory with what we are doing,” Koori Pete said.
“We are asking people to come and support us and maybe bring some tucker and a couple of blankets.”
Koori Pete said receiving money was not their forte.
“This is not about money. This is very sacred land of the people of our community,” he said.
“We are here for the long-term and will stay as long as we can. Hopefully more people will come along because we will continue our fight.”
He said he wanted the site to remain the way it was.
“We strongly believe this piece of land should stay intact,” he said.
“This is the lungs of Campbelltown. These trees are life-givers.
“My people believe, and I think a lot of the community believe, this bush surrounds will be full of pollution with the redevelopment. That is our major concern.”
Campbelltown has the start of a tent embassy as Aborigines gather to raise their voice over the protection of land and wildlife in Airds.
Three First Nations original men, who have asked to be named by their tribal names, erected two tents this week to show their concerns over the Airds Bradbury Renewal Project.
First Nations sovereignty campaigner and the last remaining founder of the 1972 'Aboriginal Embassy' in Canberra, Michael Anderson, will talk at a public forum at the Campbelltown Civic Centre on August 30.
The Airds-Bradbury redevelopment will result in 2000 new homes and aims to create a mix of private and public housing.
The renewal is expected to remove large areas of green space, which is home to native species including koalas.
While the redevelopment has been welcomed, the community has raised questions over the future of the thriving wildlife corridors at Airds.
Gungadin, Mudgoolagong and Koori Pete feel a close connection to the land, which is at the heart of their peaceful protest.
“This is our own solidarity march. This is sacred land that we are on,” Gungadin said.
“A lot of stuff hasn’t been heard from the right people and we’re feeling that organisations are in control and the little people don’t get a voice.”
Mudgoolagong said the group would stay put until its message of solidarity was heard.
“We heard there is going to be development here and we are going to stop it,” Mudgoolagong said.
“Some of the people around so far have spoken up and said it’s a good thing.
“We’ve had quite a few people come past and we have explained everything to them. We’re not going to any organisations to front them about this; we want them to come here.”
Gungadin said he wanted to teach people about the purity of the land.
“The trees are our protectors. We are all connected to mother earth,” he said.
“We want to look after our environment and we’re sick of people tearing down our lands.
“We want to make sure we send the right message.”
Gungadin said he was furious Campbelltown Council was not making an effort to listen to the community.
“We think Campbelltown Council is very tokenistic because they don’t consult the right grassroots people,” Gungadin said.
“I have been told that over 2000 people have put in to (Campbelltown Council general manager) Paul Tosi about this environment. This is a sacred site.
“We want the community to be heard.”