Protection of the former Deebing Creek Mission and its transfer to its Aboriginal Owners

Protection of the former Deebing Creek Mission and its transfer to its Aboriginal Owners

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Protection of the former Deebing Creek Mission and its transfer to its Original Owners

1) Whereas Australia was occupied and colonised through military invasion by the British Empire on the false claim of Terra Nullius pretending that the land was uninhabited, and the Crown's claim of ownership of Australia was asserted by the Anglo-Australian doctrines of tenure imposed since 1788 to replace the Traditional Custodians' Customary Law of the Land, in a vain attempt to extinguish their inalienable communal allodial land title and Rights over their ancestral homelands that the Sovereign Original Peoples, First Nations, Aboriginals, Aborigines, Natives or Indigenous, have inhabited as legitimate traditional owners without other landlords since millennia prior to historic times and foreign immigration, and they hold inherent ownership over lands until this day, that they have never signed treaties over, sold, nor ceded, so in law it is, always was and always will be Sovereign Aboriginal Land;

2) Whereas the region around Deebing Creek, QLD, has been used and inhabited by the Jagera, Yuggera and Ugarapul People, three of the ten clans of the Yagara language, and by the neighbouring Aboriginal groups for several thousands of years is a fact established by oral tradition and archaeology;

3) Whereas the natural sectors covered with bush, forests and meadows around Deebing Creek Mission and bordering both sides of Deebing Creek host important cultural, historical and archaeological sites and artefacts, including burials and human remains that have never been thoroughly investigated;

4) Whereas the Deebing Creek Mission and its surrounding lands, also registered as Deebing Creek Aboriginal Reserve, Deebing Creek Aboriginal Mission, Deebing Creek Aboriginal Station and Deebing Creek Aboriginal Home, was first gazetted as Reserve 177 (portion 369) at what is now known as Lot 219 RP858789 as a Camping and Water for Aboriginals as their home and for their use in 1887 with the foundation of the mission; the area of 42 acres (17 hectares) was gazetted in January 1892 ''for the use of the Aboriginal inhabitants of the State''; another portion was added on March 31st 1892 as Reserve 371, with another 16.5 hectares set aside as Reserve 65 on October 6th 1892 on what is now Lot 228 CC2905; and further two additional portions of land (197 of 57 acres and 204 of 53 acres) leased by Gutteridge and Wilkinson were purchased, ceded to the Crown and added to Deebing Creek Mission in 1897 as Aboriginal Reserves 191 and 772, enlarging its size to 160 acres; with three additional portions of 127, 147 and 161 acres purchased in 1900, extending the Reserve on ''nine miles of bushland along Deebing Creek''; so the Deebing Creek Reserve covered altogether 2072 acres (839 hectares), including 200 acres (81 hectares) at Deebing Creek Mission, with several farms, fields, pastures, orchards, a school at Deebing Creek and one at Purga, and numerous dwellings and camps;

5) Whereas the Deebing Creek Aboriginal Reserve was allegedly rescinded by the State of Queensland in 1917, but it was never signed by Parliament, and only two lots of 41 and 42 acres were rescinded in 1984 and turned into freehold, out of the 2072 (up to 2600) acres of land that belonged to the Reserve;

6) Whereas the Jagera, Yuggera and Ugarapul Peoples were recognised by the City of Ipswich as the Traditional Owners of 1200 square km including the City of Ipswich and the entire area of Deebing Creek, through an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) under the Native Title Act 1993;

7) Whereas out of the whole former Deebing Creek Mission territory, only a small portion of 3600 square meters of the 20,000 requested (2 hectares) in 1973, to protect ancient burials and Aboriginal graves around the historic Aboriginal Heritage Cemetery of Deebing Creek Mission, was gazetted as Deebing Creek Aboriginal Cemetery Reserve in February 1976, and the former Deebing Creek Mission was registered with the status of QLD State Heritage on September 24th 2004;

8) Whereas the natural sectors of bush and meadows around Deebing Creek offer a natural habitat to a diversified flora and fauna including endangered species like the koala and rare trees, medicinal plants and cultural Heritage trees, they have a long and significant Aboriginal precolonial and post-colonial history, as they have been and are still being used by the Sovereign Original Peoples community for cultural activities and hold for them an important spiritual, cultural and historical significance;

9) Whereas the Aboriginal community has made known clearly and publicly through public statements and actions since at least five decades the importance and significance for them of preserving Deebing Creek and the surrounding grounds as a Heritage site, and of preventing further urban encroachment;

10) Whereas a petition signed by 7068 Queensland citizens was tabled at the Queensland Parliament on 30/04/2019 asking for a ''Commission of Inquiry into Deebing Creek Mission sale to developers Eligibility'', was responded by: Hon Cameron Dick MP on 30/05/2019, but without any decisive results;

11) Whereas in the case ''Faye Carr on behalf of the Yuggera Ugarapul People v Frasers Deebing Heights Pty Ltd'' [2019], the Land Court of Queensland refused the application for an injunction to stop the construction works on Aboriginal Heritage lands on the premises that the applicant did not provide enough proof of the cultural claims and the defendant engaged in discussions that turned unsuccessful;

12) Whereas members of the Sovereign Aboriginal community also engaged in discussions with the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Partnership (DATSIP), the City of Ipswich, Frasers Property Ltd and other contractors involved, like AV Jennings and Orchard Properties, that have all ended without reaching any clear agreement on the use and management of Deebing Creek Cemetery Reserve and the surrounding former Mission Reserve, with the exception of one corporation;

13) Whereas the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Partnership (DATSIP) and the Ipswich City Council, with the consent of the direction of the Jagera Daran Pty Ltd Aboriginal corporation who are not part of the Traditional Owners nor of the local Aboriginal community, might have approved a housing development and urbanisation project at Deebing Creek, emitted a permit to Frasers Property Ltd which concluded an agreement with the contractors to start construction works at Deebing Heights against the will and without the consent or the approval of the Traditional Owners and Custodians nor of the local Original community using the cultural lands at Deebing Creek Mission;

14) Whereas Frasers property Ltd, the contractors AV Jennings and the City of Ipswich have published maps of the proposed housing projects, with plans to eliminate all the bush and meadows used for cultural practices and wildlife habitat, except for two small sections limited around the Cemetery and Mission locations with a thin strip along Deebing Creek, to replace it with a residential neighbourhood;

15) Whereas new construction works were started in late 2018 on the west side of Grampian Drive in Deebing Heights, and more works have been ongoing since February 2019 just north of the first construction site and since March 2019 extending Binnies Road on the east side of Grampian Drive, through the natural forest at Deebing Creek, held as sacred heritage by the local Aboriginal community;

16) Whereas the Deebing Creek community has knowledge of important cultural and archaeological sites, including at least three massacre sites that have never been reported, listed or studied and require protection, with mass graves revealed in at least two locations by Ground-Penetrating Radar surveys, and human remains exposed by erosion and ground disturbances found in other locations on the site;

17) Whereas the still undeveloped sectors covered with natural bush, forests and meadows surrounding Deebing Creek between the Purga Creek and the Bundamba Creek catchments, and bordering both sides of Deebing Creek in its upper catchment south of Cunningham Highway, have been the natural ancestral home of the Jagera, Yuggera and Ugarapul recognised as the Traditional Owners by the City of Ipswich in an Indigenous Land Use Agreement in 2008, an ancestral home they have shared with other neighbouring tribes, and Historical Peoples during the Mission days that left 9000 descendants;

18) And whereas those sectors present all the criteria of eligibility for protection under the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984 (ATSIHP Act), the Aboriginal Land Act 1991 (QLD), the Native Title Act 1993, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, and the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003 (QLD), as well as under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples ratified by the Commonwealth of Australia on April 3rd, 2009;

This petition is to demand an immediate moratorium on all further permits and projects for contractors in all the undeveloped sectors still in their natural state around the upper catchment of Deebing Creek, a detailed archaeological survey including of sites with human remains, an official protection status, and an exclusive freehold title for perpetuity over the former Reserve, for the Aboriginal groups linked to it.

Therefore, we the undersigned, hereby signify our unanimous and definitive support for the protection of the Deebing Creek Reserve and former Mission lands, and join our voices to the demands and claims of the Jagera, Yugerra and Ugarapul Traditional Owners, of the Elders and Descendants of Purga and Deebing Creek Missions and of the Murri community with familial or historical links to the site, for the recognition and respect of their inherent, exclusive and definitive land title, irrevocable ownership, self-governance, self-determination and management for any future use of their ancestral and historic sacred territory around Deebing Creek as Sovereign Original First Nations and Peoples, with whom supporters and concerned citizens join to ask for the protection of the former Deebing Creek Reserve, demanding an immediate moratorium on all further construction projects and permits for developers on all the undeveloped sectors still in their natural state around Deebing Creek [including the sectors extending between Ripley to the east and Grampian Drive (formerly known as South Deebing Creek Road) to the west, and between the grounds surrounding the old mission location by the bunya pine, with the entire expanse of meadows and billabongs to the south, stretching to Cunningham Highway to the north, including the sectors around the cemetery and the Ipswich Pony Club], the entire area covering roughly three square kilometres, but dwindling by the day as major construction works are being conducted.

The actual situation with the expanding urban development is critical and therefore urgently requires an immediate stop to the expansion of construction works in yet undeveloped sectors, to conduct an honest comprehensive archaeological survey of the entire area, including a forensic archaeological survey of the sites where human remains are present. Previous archaeological surveys uncovered dozens of artefacts that have been removed from the site, mass graves were located, while sacred sites are known. If the land around Deebing Creek is honestly researched, its status as sacred Heritage site and its archaeological, historical and cultural importance will grant it a protection status as a cultural centre. Without protection, rare archaeological treasures and cultural Heritage could be destroyed forever.

In 2020, it is paramount for the Australian society to respect the Traditional Custodians' Rights, and to put an end to the historic dispossession of the Aboriginals and stop ousting them from their homelands. To allow the destruction of such an important cultural and historic site as Deebing Creek would equal to the continuation of the genocidal policies that left too many dark pages in the Australian history. Protecting this relatively small territory so sacred for the Aboriginal community would show signs of an improvement in the Australian society regarding the respect of its Aboriginal Peoples and Heritage. This could signify better relations between Indigenous and settlers, with reconciliation through justice.