Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Stand Up for a[euro][approximately]Recognition'

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Stand Up for a[euro][approximately]Recognition'

Article excerpt

I SPENT the weekend in Gungarri country.

My hope and dream is that one day everybody reading this will know where I'm talking about. In the same way we know where the Channel Country is, or the Darling Downs or the Mallee in Victoria etc.

I visited the Mitchell Yumba, a place of great significance for Aboriginal people from all over south-west Queensland.

There were similar fringe dwellings on the edge of towns throughout our region.

Often placed in low lying land near the cemetery, or in this case the sewage outlet. In the 1960s water was provided to the cemetery at Cunnamulla but not to the neighbouring Aboriginal settlement nicknamed, "Hollywood".

One observer noted it was as if we cared more for the dead than for the living.

Local elders and community members Aunty Irene Ryder, Lynette Nixon and Saraeva Mitchell generously shared their knowledge and history with me.

They spoke of the pain of losing so many memories when the Yumba was bulldozed by local authorities in 1967.

Incredibly the focus of these strong women's sharing was on the experiences they had shared with others and the pride that they had in their knowledge of the country and its abundance of living things.

What appeared as scrubby trees and bushes were part of a local chemist shop as I learnt a little about Gungarri bush medicine.

Most of all there was great pride in the struggle that Gungarri had undertaken to maintain connection with their country.

The Yumba has become a place of remembering, learning and healing.

Families have their own camping spots with their totems displayed for all to see.

The number six who will run out for Queensland tomorrow night has a special place at the Yumba. Johnathan Thurston, like thousands of Murries across the land, is connected to this country.

The message from Mitchell and the Yumba for me was one of hope and inclusion.

The story of the Yumba, the story of the land is something that every Australian can take pride in. …

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