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June 22, 2024 4:00 AM

Strong Stand on Common Land

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The Wanaruah Local Aboriginal Lands Council have had enough, and with the support of the Hunter Valley Local Area Command and Muswellbrook Shire Council, anyone who is caught trespassing at The Common will not get away with it.

“We’re drawing a line in the sand, we are going to start to prosecute,” Lands Council CEO De-Anne Douglas said.

“We have signage so there’s no more chances, people need to understand we will be taking action, legal action against people that are illegally on our property.”

The land off Coal Road is owned by the Local Aboriginal Lands Council and holds cultural significance with countless artifacts found over the years, as well as scarred and Grandmother trees growing on the site.

THRT 5.1 INDIG DAMAGE PIC 1
Michael Stair with one of the scarred trees at Muswellbrook Common, where a section of bark and wood has been removed to make something like a shield or coolamon but leaving the tree to keep on growing.

It was the cutting down of a significant Grandmother tree a few weeks ago that has been the final straw for the Lands Council who have been dealing with illegal dumping and destruction of nature since taking back ownership of the land in 1999.

Chairperson for the Wanaruah LALC, Aunty Jean Hands, said that The Common is land for Aboriginal people to walk on, with the wider community asked to reach out before heading up the hill.

“We appreciate and would love people to come and walk this land but get permission first, just call first to get permission,” she said.

The Lands council phone number is 6543 1288.

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