Broome Advertiser - - Front Page - Glenn Cord­ing­ley

Indige­nous graves near river moved

A to­tal of 70 graves con­tain­ing the re­mains of Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple buried on an erod­ing bank of Fitzroy River have been ex­humed.

They were within the Fitzroy Cross­ing Pioneer Ceme­tery, a reg­is­tered Abo­rig­i­nal site.

A num­ber of indige­nous peo­ple were buried in the nongazetted sec­tion of the ceme­tery be­tween 1908 and 1994, and the area was used as a burial place at least un­til the 1980s.

The De­part­ment of Plan­ning, Lands and Her­itage is man­ag­ing the process in part­ner­ship with the Abo­rig­i­nal com­mu­nity of Fitzroy Cross­ing, the Kim­ber­ley Abo­rig­i­nal Law and Cul­ture Cen­tre and the Shire of Derby/West Kim­ber­ley.

DPLH said all ex­ca­va­tion and ex­huma­tion works were com­pleted by De­cem­ber and pos­i­tively iden­ti­fied re­mains had been trans­ferred to KALACC for han­dling.

Back­fill­ing and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion work at the ceme­tery has also been com­pleted.

DPLH said with the on­set of the wet sea­son, the rein­ter­ment of ex­humed re­mains would re­sume in the new year in con­sul­ta­tion with elders and KALACC.

The Fitzroy Cross­ing Abo­rig­i­nal Com­mu­nity has ex­pressed it would like to hold a sin­gle rein­ter­ment cer­e­mony for ex­humed re­mains once the wet sea­son had passed.

Abo­rig­i­nal Af­fairs Min­is­ter Ben Wy­att said it was an im­por­tant project for the lo­cal Abo­rig­i­nal com­mu­nity and he was pleased to see it pro­gress­ing well. “I con­grat­u­late those who have been man­ag­ing the project so well up to this point and look for­ward to its suc­cess­ful con­clu­sion,” he said.

A qual­i­fied ar­chae­ol­o­gist has been en­gaged to re­move re­mains con­sid­ered most atrisk, which were be­ing held in a stor­age fa­cil­ity.

DPLH ex­pected the ma­jor­ity of the re­mains would be rein­terred at the Fitzroy Cross­ing Ceme­tery. The Fitzroy Val­ley Men’s Shed has been asked to con­struct coffins for the bones.

A wide an­gle shot gives per­spec­tive of the dis­tance be­tween the burial ground and the river.

A broad view of the ex­ca­va­tion site.

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