MAKING A STAND: Indigenous Deebing Creek descendants Roberta Graham and Kevin Anderson.
MAKING A STAND: Indigenous Deebing Creek descendants Roberta Graham and Kevin Anderson. Cordell Richardson

Elders' mission to defend sacred Deebing Creek burial ground

DESCENDANTS of Deebing Creek Aboriginal Mission are preparing for a final fight to stop house construction on sacred burial sites.

Next month, diggers will fell the first tree to make way for Frasers Property's 925-lot residential estate off the Warrego Highway at Deebing Heights.

It plans to develop land around the heritage-listed mission and cemetery.

No infrastructure will be built on the sites, but trails will feature when the mission is opened for public access for the first time in 103 years.

The site started as an Aboriginal mission in 1887 and operated until 1915, when it was relocated to Purga.

With stage one of the housing development weeks away, Yuggera/Ugarapul descendants are preparing a final stand to protect the land.

They want the State Government to buy back the area to protect it.

"My father, my mother grew up out there; my father hunted the land," elder Kevin Anderson said.

"Our view is it is sacred land and there should be no development."

The group is exploring legal options to prevent the start of the project, which could include an application to the Land Court for an injunction.

Mr Anderson wants the community to get behind the preservation of the sacred site.

"We're looking at trying to organise a protest march and contacting some politicians to try and get some backing," he said.

"We want to see the council understand the cultural aspects of the place out there."

Elder Roberta Graham aims to help protect the mission.

She was there in 2015 when Australand first mooted plans to develop Deebing Creek.

While Frasers Property's plans to enhance the culturally-sensitive mission and creek areas, Ms Graham demands everything is left alone.

"They're going to desecrate my land," she said.

"We've got concerns there may be graves here and there.

"Deebing Creek Mission, our kings and queens, we have record of it; they're all buried there."

"It's not like the white man, put your body in one little corner," Mr Anderson said.

"For us, wherever the person died, that was his tribal corner, where he wanted to die."

The descendants say politicians refuse to step in and preserve the land, forcing the group to take drastic action.

"We'll have to go out there and camp out there," Ms Graham said.

"We're not going to go down without a fight, we're not going to let it go."



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