Sacred Fire 30th April 2013
Almost one year on from the denial of Aboriginal Sovereign rights at Musgrave Park and 16 days preceding an Annual Gathering followed by National Treaty Talks at the same location, the police arrested a Jagera elder for maintaining the sacred fire.
The Jagera elder, Kevin Arjin Warrugar, was arrested on Monday 29th April and held in custody at the Roma Street Watch House. He was charged with obstructing police. His bail conditions restricted him from attending the Embassy on his own peoples land.
He returned to the Embassy on the following day to re-light the sacred fire and has been arrested for breach of bail.
His bail conditions were the same as those imposed on three Embassy warriors in December last year, which the courts found to be onerous.
The Brisbane City Council and the Queensland Police are attempting to implant fear and intimidation into the First Nations people who desire to maintain their cultural rights, under United Nations declarations.
Embassy spokesperson, Wayne Wharton said, "it is an act of terrorism. They know very well that they had no evidence when they went to convict the three of us earlier in the year. The courts found us not guilty and now they are doing the same thing again. They are using force to try to intimidate us and to intimidate brother Kevin from coming to his own land".
Mr Wharton said the Embassy is not about tents, its about exercising rights.
To keep up-to-date with this ongoing abuse by governments and police see: Facebook - Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy
Last Year - Police Invade Cultural Site and distinguish Sacred Fire
On 16th May 2012 over 250 police invaded Musgrave Park to evict the First Nations people practicing their culture at the Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy. A hundred people gathered to defend the sacred fire on this day with hundreds more gathering outside the fences.
There was a police blockade set up around the gathering place area and adjacent parts of South Brisbane. Thirty-five First Nations warriors were arrested at this time, defending the sacred fire.
This Year - Annual Gathering and National Treaty Talks
On 16th May, one year later, there is 'A day to remember' gathering planned at the Musgrave Park gathering place.
Following this event, on 18th and 19th May, there is First Nations 'National Treaty Talks' planned at the legal meeting place with many principal activists from around Australia speaking. These include Michael Mansell, Robert Thorpe, Michael Anderson, Fred Hooper, Marshall Bell, Wayne Wharton, Gracelyn Smallwood, Alec Doomadgee and Murrandoo Yanner.
In 1998, Brisbane City Council allowed the southeast corner of Musgrave Park to become leased to a community group to establish an indigenous cultural centre.
In 2002 that community group, Musgrave Park Cultural Centre Incorporated, signed a 30-year lease with Arts Queensland to develop plans for a cultural centre.
Brisbane City Council's 2009 Living Heritage publication described Musgrave Park as a "place of ritual, ceremony and dispute resolution".
It cited traditional elder Paddy Jerome, who described the area as "ceremonial land ... a place of spirit memories".
In 2000, historian Ros Kidd gathered a range of information from anthropologists suggesting South Brisbane was rich in Aboriginal heritage.
"Axeheads and stone tools have been located near the Grey/Peel streets intersection and also in the area near the Captain Cook bridge," she wrote.
"More axeheads, along with stone scrapers for sharpening spears, cutting hair or skinning game were found in vicinity of Musgrave Park.
"Scarred trees and human skulls in the same area add other dimensions to territorial occupation.
"An early resident recounted finding a skull in the Kangaroo Point scrub in 1856 and said others were collected around River Terrace.
"William Clark, who lived in south Brisbane from 1849, wrote that it was a common entertainment in the 1850s for the 'cabbage tree hatters' to form themselves into 'secret commandoes' and use long sticks to dislodge burial remains from the tree forks in the south Brisbane/West End area."
Reference: Tony Moore Brisbane Times 16 May 2012
Dr Ros Kidd Aboriginal History - Princess Alexandra Hospital Site