Traditional owners a no show
Published in The Ararat Advocate, Ararat's weekly newspaper published by West Vic News Pty Ltd.
LOCAL Djab Wurrung supporters were left in the dark on Saturday when traditional owners failed to attend the very event they had planned.
A Djab Wurrung Embassy meet and greet barbecue was promoted online but a group of ten residents were left to discuss the issues between themselves.
Embassy members were nowhere to be seen despite posters and correspondence with media and locals.
Keep the Original Route Supporters (KORS Inc) secretary, Russell Pearce, gave up his afternoon to update himself on the cultural fight.
“There was going to be a meet and greet with some of the Djab Wurrung people and that's about all I know,” he said on Saturday
“I know some of those people and I like to catch-up with what the latest is in the process of trying to sort out respectful use of their country.”
Peaceful demonstrations in support of the Djab Wurrung Embassy were held in Sydney and Melbourne on Saturday but locally, the group of ten residents were left scratching their heads while two police officers watched on.
“Obviously, something's come up - I don't know what the circumstances are with the change of plans today,” Mr Pearce said.
“It's certainly happening in other places. There's action at the Sydney Town Hall today, and I believe there's been something in Spring Street as well.”
Mr Pearce – who has been campaigning with KORS Inc for an independent panel to examine the Western Highway Duplication alignment options near Dobie - was left speechless and disgusted by the felling of a fiddleback tree almost three weeks ago.
The Djab Wurrung Embassy claim the tree is a “Directions Tree” but Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation say it has "no cultural modifications" and was "unlikely to have pre-dated European civilisation.”
The Djab Wurrung Embassy did not reply to the Ararat Advocate’s request for comment.