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Tasmanian Aboriginal site being destroyed



Tasmanian Aboriginals are blockading the construction site of the Brighton Bypass this morning. The area has many significant Aboriginal archelogical sites that are yet to be explored or protected, but the state government has ignored this and are building a highway across the area. The Tasmanian Aborignial Centre have declared a black ban on all other sites of Aboriginal significance across the state if construction doesn't stop immediately, this includes their work with the state government on two other major roads being built at the moment.

Four SA comrades are at the protest this morning. Call Tim Dobson on 0430 209 865 to get more info or send messages of support to nala.m@tacinc.com.au



One protester has been arrested and eight others could face charges after a protest at the site yesterday.
And tensions are expected to run high again today with a larger group of Aboriginal protesters vowing to return to the work site and stop construction any way they can.
Activist Aaron Everett yesterday was charged with trespass after Aboriginal community members entered a work site near Brighton and tried to stop bulldozers and excavators making a start on the $164 million roadworks -- southern Tasmania's biggest infrastructure project.
After being told to move off the site, the group complied but later returned and Mr Everett was arrested.
TAC legal adviser Michael Mansell said the community had been assured that work would not begin on the project until next week when he would meet Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and the Arts secretary Kim Evans to discuss trying to divert the planned highway away from Aboriginal artefacts that allegedly litter the valley.
An angry Mr Mansell said as soon as the TAC had been advised that work had already started the group converged on the site to try to halt the works.
But the developers were ready with security officers who were sitting in vehicles beside the machinery.
As soon as the group, including outspoken Aboriginal activist Trudy Maluga, walked towards the machinery the two guards attempted to escort them back to the Midland Highway.
When that did not work, police were called.
"The site has artefacts that we think date back 18,000 years and because our history is not written down, once it has gone we can no longer learn from it. This is the equivalent of building a McDonalds on top of the Great Pyramid in Egypt -- these people are a disgrace."
If the artefacts do date back 18,000 years, they would pre-date the pyramids by more than 15,000 years.
A spokesman for DPIPWE said the TAC had been offered the opportunity to meet Mr Evans on Monday but they still had not responded.
Mr Mansell has renewed threats that work on the bypass will only happen "over my dead body". He says the road should be widened on its current route and the bypass abandoned.
"We will do whatever we have to do. We will take our fight to UNESCO if we have to," Mr Mansell said.
The area runs at least 15km along the Jordan River.

FACTS ON ARTEFACTS
• Evidence of items dating back 18,000 years.
• Archaeological digs have found the artefacts 600mm below the surface.
• Remains include food scraps, middens, tools.
• Estimated population over several thousand years of up to 500,000.
• Unlike transient communities around the state, evidence suggests this was a stable, constant community.
• The community in the Lower Jordan Valley was made up of several tribes including members of the Big River, Oyster Bay, Stoney Creek, Nuenone (Bruny Island) and Mouheeneener people.
• It is believed the area may include burial sites.
• John Glover painted Aboriginal habitation of the Lower Jordan.

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