Construction of lasting memorial sculptures to the Wittenoom Tragedy in Perth & Pilbara

Construction of lasting memorial sculptures to the Wittenoom Tragedy in Perth & Pilbara

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Asbestos Diseases Society of Australia started this petition to WA Government and

In 2018, the Asbestos Diseases Society of Australia unveiled a memorial plaque at Solidarity Park, West Perth. The plaque commemorates the 4,000+ West Aussies who have died from asbestos-related diseases and remembers those who were victims of Australia’s worst industrial disaster. The CSR Wittenoom Mine and Mill is the greatest example of workplace negligence in Australia, and second in the world to date.

Wittenoom was a blue asbestos mining town in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Despite health warnings as early as 1948, it continued to operate until 1966, killing thousands of workers, their families and town visitors. One of those visitors was the Minister of the Crown Mr Ernie Bridge MLA, who died from Mesothelioma which he contracted during his time dealing with the town's closure. Today, we continue to lose many lives to the deadly asbestos dust from Wittenoom. 

"Asbestos has been used in Western Australia since the 1920s, primarily in a building and manufacturing industries. In fact, in 1937 the late Mr Lang Hancock commenced blue asbestos surface mining and used mainly aboriginal people - the Banyjima people - at that mine. From 1943 to 1966 more than 20,000 people lived and worked at Wittenoom. The gorges had regular visitors and various school excursions were held. Notably, Hale School had its own allotted camping area. During that time, thousands of Western Australians attended and lived in that area. Apart from being mined, the asbestos fibre was shipped off with not a great amount of care. It was loaded onto and off ships, which exposed a lot of workers at port Samson and Fremantle port to asbestos fibres. Over the years many of those workers developed asbestos-related diseases." Hon Alison Xamon MLC, Parliamentary Speech 23/08/18

While we are very grateful for the CFMEU WA and Unions WA for allowing the memorial plaque in Solidarity Park, our members and friends from Wittenoom have requested a permanent memorial, not just for the workers but also for their children, families, visitors and local Traditional Owners of the land, many of whom have since lost their lives to deadly asbestos diseases. Wittenoom has been taken off the map and cannot be accessed by road; for many this creates a situation where there is not a place of memorial to grieve lost loved ones.

We have approached the State Government about the construction of a permanent memorial in Perth and the Pilbara. We have been advised that the Minister will meet with us to discuss this moving forward. We will also be visiting the Shire of Ashburton and the Traditional Owners of the land to discuss the best way forward in the Pilbara.
 
We are very fortunate that the artwork for the memorial sculptures has been donated, so we only need to cover the cost of the artist and materials, as well as an area for visitors to sit and reflect.

To learn more about the Wittenoom Tragedy, visit our website - www.asbestosdiseases.org.au/asbestos-info/the-wittenoom-tragedy, or watch videos on our YouTube channel - www.youtube.com/channel/UCxlmmL_ehF2vTxXGo_QWenw

To support the construction of permanent memorial sculptures in Perth and the Pilbara, please SIGN and SHARE this petition.

Thanks,

Melita Markey
CEO, Asbestos Diseases Society of Australia

0 have signed. Let’s get to 5,000!
At 5,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!