It’s invisible

An email I received from the Goolarabooloo community yesterday:

Dear Trail walker – past and future, 

The Broome Shire and the West Australian Planning Commission have prepared the latest planning documents with the purpose to set out the long-term (10-15 years) planning directions for the Shire of Broome. It is to our great surprise that the Lurujarri Heritage Trail is not included is these Local Planning Strategy (LPS 6) documents. Instead, they provide for large-scale industrialisation and development along the coast north of Broome.

As most of you would know in 1987, Goolarabooloo elder Paddy Roe initiated the Lurujarri Heritage Trail as a trigger to encourage the members of his community to be walking the Country, as had always been done; to conserve, renew and stay connected with their heritage and traditional skills and to keep the same alive for generations to come. He also sought to awaken non-Aboriginal people to a relationship with the land, to foster trust, friendship and empathy between the indigenous community and the wider Australian and International communities.

Since that day, hundreds of people from all over Australia and the world have walked the Lurujarri Heritage Trail with us and more still are hoping to take part in the future. We believe the continuing success and growing popularity of the Lurujarri Heritage Trail only serves to confirm it’s outstanding heritage values.

Back in the early days the Broome Shire had been very supportive of Lurujarri Heritage Trail. You might have noticed the Shire of Broome logo on all our interpretative signs along the coast. So what is going on? According to the Local Planning Strategy (LPS 6) documentation, the Lurrujarri Heritage Trail does not meet the definition of a Heritage Area and has subsequently failed to be included. How can this happen? The Local Planning Strategy (LPS 6) document’s own definition of heritage area states:

Heritage Area means an area which is of cultural heritage significance and of such distinctive nature or character that special controls are considered necessary to retain and/or enhance that character, even though each individual place in the area may not itself be of significance.”

Are they serious?

Here is an accompanying map of the proposed planning land use for the Dampier Peninsula.


So when did the Shire of Broome decide that the Lurujarri Heritage/Dreaming Trail ceased to exist? Has the Northern Traditions Song Cycle also been eradicated from the minds of policy makers? The often cruel politics (a legacy of colonisation and land theft) underlying what makes it onto a map and what is left off is blatant in the Broome Shire’s Local Planning Strategy.

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