Lekina Thompson, Wade Thompson and (front) Shale Thompson and Roberta Graham at Deebing Creek Mission.
Lekina Thompson, Wade Thompson and (front) Shale Thompson and Roberta Graham at Deebing Creek Mission. Rob Williams

Protestors won't budge from sacred site as stalemate lingers

A SMALL group of Aboriginal campers sit around a fire at Deebing Creek, they again feel at peace on their sacred site.

In the back of their mind they know one day the tranquil silence of the land could be shattered by the shrill noise of a chainsaw.

It has been 75 days since Queensland Police escorted land owners Frasers Property onto the old Deebing Creek mission site and delivered the move-on notice.

Blow-in union members joined people protesting the eviction, which bordered on a riot.

These days camp life is peaceful and slow moving.

"We get our visitors, they come and go," Aboriginal elder Roberta Graham said.

Ms Graham has been one of a small number of dedicated campers who have consistently lived on site since Frasers Property allowed them back on.

Elder Wade Thompson knows the time on the site is precious, with Frasers still indicating it plans to turn part of the site into a housing estate.

"We're just going to have to face that when it comes," Mr Thompson said.

A cultural heritage agreement has been reluctantly agreed to.

"If we didn't the control of the cultural heritage would have been taken out of our hands," Mr Thompson said.

He said the mission site was about 161ha.

"They're saying 24ha will be untouched," he said.

"We know they plan on putting a football field here."

 

Lekina Thompson has spent over 80 days at the Deebing Creek Mission.
Lekina Thompson has spent over 80 days at the Deebing Creek Mission. Rob Williams

The cultural heritage agreement includes surveys on burials before development, but Mr Thompson said people were likely to be buried across the whole area.

"We are being dictated to about our old people's cemeteries and where the cemetery goes," he said.

"The Queensland Government don't know where people are buried out here."

Lekina Thompson said camping on the site allowed her to reconnect to her culture and tradition.

"I've learnt so much family history and history of what happened here but also a lot of cultural elements," she said.

"I've got in touch with that part of my identity because It's been missing my whole entire life.

"Culture was taken away from us and being back here, it's slowly been building up."

Lekina said she loved the way of life and living in the outdoors.

"I love cooking on a fire and waking up and seeing animals and birds and being surrounded by trees," she said.

While life is a peaceful and educational one, she said most of the experience was about "protecting country".

"Time isn't really an issue because we're always going to be here," she said.

"If they kick us off again we will get back on somehow, someway.

"We're here forever."



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