Maralinga -- Reclaiming their land and history

Submitted: Tuesday, Jul 02, 2019 at 15:44
ThreadID: 138637 Views:3787 Replies:3 FollowUps:3
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"More than 60 years after testing started, a new generation of traditional owners is starting to venture into the former atomic testing range and reclaim the land."
"Traditional owners were beginning to reclaim what was theirs, and feelings towards the test site were changing."

Read the full ABC report here.

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Reply By: Member - shane r1 - Wednesday, Jul 03, 2019 at 08:16

Wednesday, Jul 03, 2019 at 08:16
I do feel sorry for the indigenous of our country, but also people elsewhere in history. Australia isn’t exclusive.
Look at the British isles and Europe, they invaded etc etc for hundreds of years , and brutally murdered each other all that time (for all sorts of reasons).
The “ invasion “ (and things like maralinga that man has done) have been happening all over the world for long before any of us were born. Remember Adolf Hitler for one.

Just some food for thought.
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Reply By: duck - Wednesday, Jul 03, 2019 at 08:42

Wednesday, Jul 03, 2019 at 08:42
Thanks for the ABC report, I did not see it so it was good to read, I have been there several times & have also travelled with several traditional owners & had a close relative that was there for all the major tests, (one of many that the big C got)
It would be great for more of the public to get both sides of what happened there. I remember 40 years ago seeing some of the old warning signs in English & thinking what a joke as the traditional owners would not have been able to understand them. One old timer explaining that they would hide from the whites that would take you away & many of he's clan had never seen a white man until they were taken away & when he was taken away it was the 1st time he had been in a motor vehicle (truck) & he & sisters & mum cried all the way & he's dad said nothing (none of them spoke English) & they had to leave all there belonging & dogs behind & he's older brother & his dads 2nd wife hid & were never seen again , he also told me that Maralinga was not a traditional word for thunder clap that I have read several times
Interesting place with a lot of history from all sides thanks for the update
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Wednesday, Jul 03, 2019 at 09:30

Wednesday, Jul 03, 2019 at 09:30
Hi Duck,

It's not surprising that your "old timer" told you that "Maralinga" was not a traditional (Pitjantjatjara) word for 'thunder clap'. Wikipedia tells us that...... "The term maralinga is not of local origin. It is a term chosen from the Garig or Garik dialect of the now-extinct Northern Territory Ilgar language, signifying "field of thunder/thunder", and was selected to designate the area where atomic bomb testing was to be undertaken by the then Chief Scientist of the Department of Supply, W. A. S. Butement."

An "interesting place" indeed. But a place of great injustice to both the indigenous inhabitants and to the white Australian society. I was grateful for the opportunity to visit but do not wish to return.

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Follow Up By: Banjo (WA) - Thursday, Jul 04, 2019 at 08:23

Thursday, Jul 04, 2019 at 08:23
Well if 'they' had the 'whatever it takes' to record their language, perhaps signs that they understood would have been erected.

Then again which of their tribal languages should have been used?

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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Thursday, Jul 04, 2019 at 08:37

Thursday, Jul 04, 2019 at 08:37

That was perhaps not so well phrased Paul, but in any case, the Aboriginals had no need for a structured written language. They have a communication process which has served quite well for a very long time.
I don't know about "40 years ago" but the signs I saw 6 years ago had both English and graphic instructions that possibly serve their purpose. The "language" was universal.

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Reply By: duck - Wednesday, Jul 03, 2019 at 10:31

Wednesday, Jul 03, 2019 at 10:31
I totally agree Allan it was criminal what went on to all that were/are there.

I will probably return again as casually I’m lucky enough to get paid to take film/researchers etc. to odd places all over oz. I normally get to drive for days by myself they then they fly into the nearest airfield/landing spot, they do what they want & fly out & very rarely do they get the feel of the place, the bad part is your often jumping into a hirer or mine vehicle or whatever crap thing they have managed to arrange it’s rare to get a fully sponsored vehicle & somebody in an office has arranged all the hire camping gear that has never camped in their life or travelled in OZ, on a trip to Lake Mackay WA they arranged a 4x4 Hilux dual cab & camping gear for 10 people all dehydrated food & 1 x 20 ltr of water, when I rang up was told I was camping near a lake so I did not need any more water & nothing could be done, I turned around went back to the airport & flew home several days later got rung to ask what my location was so that the helicopter could land as near as possible to me so I gave my position (in NSW) they now look at my request sheet more carefully but it’s never what you request & I hate dehydrated food
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