walmadan

Lurujarri Heritage Trail

Photo: Alexander Hayes - Magali taking footage at Walmadan

Magali and I have camped overnight (last night) at Walmadan getting more footage of country, birds, plants and the sunsets and sunrises to complete the first instalment of what will be a large documentary supporting the Goolarabooloo Law Bosses and their continued fight to retain and maintain their country.

Photo: goolarabooloo.org.au

Photo: goolarabooloo.org.au

We camped just over the hill from where the main corroboree ground is where for five long years the Goolarabooloo people fought off large consortia hell bent on installing the worlds largest natural gas refinery plant.

Photo: Corroboree site at Walmadan (James Price Point) - Alexander Hayes

"...The spirit beings of Bugarregarre (the Dreamtime) created all life as we know it. They enabled spirits to take form and gave us the law. This way everything could function in harmony. This law encoded in the Song Cycle has been passed down unbroken since creation. It is our record of history. It is the Law-keepers, Law-people, and custodian's job to keep passing Bugarigaara ceremonies and stories from one generation to the next." Quote:  goolarabooloo.org.au

Photo: Alexander Hayes - Rockpool at Walmadan

Each and every time we travel on country, listen to the many stories and meanings for the importance of country in everyone's lives we are reminded of the incredible foresight Paddy Roe had for everyone who come in contact with this place.

"...In 1987, Paddy Roe initiated the Lurujarri Heritage Trail as a trigger to encourage the members of the Goolarabooloo community to be walking the Country again, as had always been done; to conserve; renew and stay connected with their heritage and traditional skills and to keep the same alive for generations to come. He also sought to wake up non-Aboriginal people to a relationship with the land; to foster trust; friendship and empathy between the indigenous community and the wider Australian and International communities." Quote:  goolarabooloo.org.au

Tomorrow we take the rough cut of the film featuring Traditional Custodians and Elders, Jeannie Wabi and Phillip Roe as well as the insight we gained from listening to Frans Hoogland who also lives with the Goolarabooloo community. We sat in Mangala with the rain pouring down and thank our lucky stars that we get to be here and connect with all these important people, partial to their story, bringing their voice that would otherwise be silenced out into the world.

Photo: Alexander Hayes - Vines at Walmadan, Western Australia.

Photo: Alexander Hayes - Vines at Walmadan, Western Australia.

Walmadan

Photo: Alexander Hayes - (L) Jeannie Wabi and (R) Phillip Roe at Walmadan

Photo: Alexander Hayes - (L) Jeannie Wabi and (R) Phillip Roe at Walmadan

We get one chance, just one opportunity to protect and retain the most precious of ecosystems, especially those tied with cultural significance.

Walmadan ( James Price Point) in the Kimberley Region, Western Australia is one of those significant areas for traditional custodians of this country. In the Bugarregarre this area this place was fiercely protected and to this day it will remain protected by Law through traditional custodians.

We have been on country over the last 24 hours listening to how recent events are again threatening to turn this fragile ecosystem into a mineral sands mine, a gas refinery hub, a commercial venture sold out to the highest bidder from foreign countries who have no respect at all for the environment. 

Photo: Alexander Hayes - (L) Phillip Roe, (C) Jeannie Wabi, (R) Magali McDuffie - Walmadan camp

Photo: Alexander Hayes - (L) Phillip Roe, (C) Jeannie Wabi, (R) Magali McDuffie - Walmadan camp

The great sadness and the centre of the anger that is building momentum is focussed on one entity in the Kimberley, on one specific group of people and specifically one specific man who is breaking Law. Our role as filmmakers is to bring voice to those who are currently suppressed, marginalised from those decision making processes and who are subject to repeat attacks from mainstream media and these foreign entities through the genocidal instruments that include native title.

"...native title is shit....a failure." states Phillip Roe.

In a short period of time that interview we shot yesterday on film with Phillip Roe and Jeannie Wabi will be released to the entire world as they share in their collective dismay at the extreme divisions that native title is having on their families, their culture, their communities.

The interview provides a historical account of the fight to save Walmadan country and the continued acts of dispossession that other Aboriginal communities are perpetrating on their own kin using native title as a means to divide, conquer and extinguish the rightful custodians of country. Our role as filmmakers, photographers, researchers is to listen with both ears, observe with both eyes wide, awake.