“We don’t go to what is in our bones – that feeling. In order to experience this, we have to walk the land. Then we wake up to feeling, what we call ‘le-an’. We become more alive, we start feeling, we become more sensitive. And that’s the time you start to experience, when the land pulls you and takes over.”
Paddy Roe – Goolarabooloo Elder, Law Boss, Traditional Custodian, OAM, – the man whose vision it was to create the Lurujarri Heritage Trail, an 82 km trail following part of a Songline along the Dampier Peninsula, north of Broome, Western Australia. Paddy’s aim was to share aboriginal knowledge, bring two very different cultures closer together and to get young aboriginal kids back ‘out bush’ to reconnect.
nb. ‘le-an’ can roughly be translated as ‘gut-feeling’ – exactly what brought me here from the other corner of this vast country. No logic, no reasoning, just profound le-an that stayed with me for five sleepless nights and days – during which time I felt intensely alive and deeply ‘connected’… to The Kimberley specifically, but also to everything and nothing.
I am currently at Walmadan (James Price Point), one of the ‘stops’ on the Lurujarri Heritage Trail, about 50 km north of Broome. It is here, atop a Songline and sacred sites (including burial grounds), that Colin Barnett (WA Premier) and a joint venture led by Woodside Petroleum, want to build the world’s biggest Liquefied Natural Gas Processing Plant.
The proposed plant would initially cover approximately 2500 hectares (approximately 21 times the size of Melbourne’s CBD), require dredging of 34 million tonnes of reef and seabed in a humpback whale calving area, involve 8000 workers and increase the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by 50%. But the overall amount of land ‘acquired’ by Woodside is apparently approximately 100 000 hectares (plenty of room for expansion as time goes by).
IF it goes ahead, it will destroy the songline, Walmadan and the Lurujarri Trail. It will tear apart the social, cultural and environmental fabric of the immediate surroundings. And in a short time (perhaps three decades) it’s flow on effects will devastate the entire Kimberley region.
Enough said. Save The Kimberley. Please.
Hunter G, reporting from Walmadan (named after the Aboriginal warrior, Walmadany).
nb. for a more detailed overview, keep your eyes out for the story by writer/photographer, Charlie Sublet, in the upcoming edition of The Big Issue magazine. Available at all good street corners in capital cities (and Broome!!) around Australia from approximately Feb 21.
Images and Text Copyright Hunter G, 2013 and available for sale (FREE for not-for-profit activities – so spread the word widely – just include a link to this blog). All profits from sales will be re-invested in Save The Kimberley activities.
Background Info and Ways to Help:
- Woodside granted access to sacred sites (news.theage.com.au)
- Kimberley graveyard to rise as the world’s largest gas hub (rowenadelarosayoon.wordpress.com)