Background:

In 2010 I was advised that an area of re-qrowth forest adjacent to my property at 87 Mountain Road Liffey (also known as 12474 Highland Lakes Road Golden Valley) was to be logged. This was labelled as BA388D and covered an area of 44 hectares.

The area contained elements of both European and Aboriginal history which Forestry Tasmania and the Forest Practices Authority had ostensibly ignored viz: an old sawmill and tramway, and numerous aboriginal rock shelters throughout the landscape including the access road from the Lakes Highway.

https: tasmaniantimes/2011/12/forestry-tasmanias-arrogant-trashing-of-aboriginal-and-settler-history/

After considerable debate with the state government, FT and the FPA, and with support from The Wilderness Society and Environment Tasmania, a portion of the coupe was designated as World Heritage Area in 2014. The remainder of the coupe some 26 hectares remains as a proposed logging zone for Sustainable Timber Tasmania (STTas).

Recent History:

Over the past years I have become aware of the rich history of the Pallittorre Nation in the immediate and surrounding areas of the coupe.

https://pixelkey.biz/tasmaniantimes/2012/11/quamby-an-extension-lindsaylindsaylindsay/

Specifically, I have had direct interaction with Hank Horton and Greg Murray the local elders, who have jointly advanced the knowledge of their history to the local community.

This has occurred by the development of the Kooparoona Niara Trail along the banks of the Meander River at Deloraine and the frequent visitations and education of local school children to the rock shelters along the southern escarpment of Mountain Road – see map below.

Indeed, Hank in a recent excursion into the coupe area discovered a further rock shelter that I was not aware of. How many more Aboriginal history elements and artefacts are yet to be found and identified as Pallittorre?

The Future:

The remnant coupe area of 26 hectares is designated for logging by STT in the current financial year.

https://www.sttas.com.au/forest-operations-management/interactive-map-viewer?coupe=BA388D

You will note the ground logging activity is for ‘potential saw log retention’.

[The original FPP for BA388D categorically stated the “archaeological survey would occur post gravelling and burning”].

Given the current government status of the “Review of the Model for returning Land to the Aboriginal Community”, I would have thought the focus of the Minister should be on this aspect rather than apocalyptic destruction of the history and the legacy of the Pallittorre in this and surrounding areas.

http://www.dpac.tas.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/400159/Discussion_Paper_Improving_the_model_for_returning_land_to_the_Aboriginal_community.pdf

Accordingly, I request the Minister immediately declare the residual 26 hectares of BA388D be declared World Heritage Area designate with the potential for the entirety of the area to the south and east of Mountain Road be ultimately returned to the ownership of the Pallittorre Nation.

This is supported by the elders referenced above who include their direct commentary below.

PALAWA (Pallittorre) Comment: 

Local Aboriginal Community, known as the Kooparoona Niara Aboriginal Group.

Hank Horton: as an Aboriginal person from the local area, and known as the keeper of culture, and an elder of the district, I would also like to state my concerns over the future use of this forest at Highland Lakes Road, Golden Valley, known as 12474. As this area is known for its rich Aboriginal heritage and cultural values, as shown by those shelters currently used by me and other Aboriginal community members for education and cultural purposes, these are located at 87 Mountain Road, Liffey.

Just recently we have also been able to conduct further Aboriginal Heritage assessments of the area both linking with this property and land on the other side of the Highland Lakes Road. These were carried out by a team from Aboriginal Heritage Tasmania (AHT) and consisted of professional peoples skilled and able to record and acknowledge the Aboriginal Cultural landscape & heritage values, located and found with-in the area during these assessments and surveys.

My community (The Kooparoona Niara Mob) would NOT support any form of forestry or logging with-in this area, and would also be prepared to take actions that would ensure NO such activities will take place that will impact, damage or destroy Aboriginal heritage cultural landscape values and heritage.

Also, the local Aboriginal community is now looking at future career, employment and land-management options for the future, and these cultural places and landscapes will be of high value for tourism and educational uses moving forward.  Please feel free to contact myself Hank Horton, M: 0488 929 086, or E: hank.horton@outlook.com for any further information, or to arrange a meeting.

Coda:

In addition, why would the Minister for the Environment (also the Minister for Forestry) wish to destroy this area which is the home of endangered species the Tasmanian devil, spotted quoll, masked owl and green and gold frog?


John Powell was Born in Rushworth Victoria; educated at Dandenong High School and Monash University; National Service during the Vietnam War; employed in oil/gas, water, and the resources sectors; proud Celt; protector of environment and Aboriginal heritages; stubborn and resolute.