Signs along the pathway from Shepparton to Mooroopna tell the story of Aboriginal settlers on 'The Flats', who moved to the area in 1939 after walking off the Cummeragunja Mission at Barmah.JOHN LEWIS May 3, 2013 4:52am
Aboriginal elders Glenn James and Uncle Alf Turner, and Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation board member Neville Atkinson admire the new signage unveiled today.
More than 74 years after Aboriginal people began living on ‘‘The Flats’’ between Shepparton and Mooroopna, their story is finally being told in signage along a 4.3
Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation board member Neville Atkinson welcomed the project at yesterday’s launch, saying it was ‘‘a long time coming’’.
‘‘The lights are going on now and shining in a dark corner — and people can be informed about what happened here,’’ Mr Atkinson said.
‘‘The Flats’’, off the Peter Ross Edwards Causeway, became home to scores of Aboriginal families after they walked off the Cummeragunja Mission at Barmah in 1939.
A 1946 police report listed 130 people aged from new-born babies to 80 years old living in the area.
People lived in tents or huts made from hessian or tin, and fished the Goulburn River for food or hunted for rabbits.
Aboriginal elder Alf ‘‘Boydie’’ Turner, who lived at Barmah and later at Mooroopna, remembered visiting ‘‘The Flats’’ as a youngster.
‘‘All my mates were there,’’ he said.
‘‘I used to jump on my bike and go down to ‘The Flats’.
‘‘They were good times when everyone first came here — there was plenty of work during the war.’’
Mr Turner also remembered the Queen’s visit of 1954, when hessian bags were placed along the causeway to prevent Her Majesty from seeing the humpies and tents.
‘‘Everyone was waiting for the Queen to come through so she could see,’’ Mr Turner said.
‘‘People thought they might get some help out of it — but it wasn’t so.
‘‘The hessian sacks stayed there for weeks.’’
The new signs outline the history of the Cummergaunja walk-off, life on ‘‘The Flats’’ and subsequent development of the Rumbalara Aboriginal Co-Operative.
They also tell the story of the thousands of Aboriginal people who served in both world wars and the Vietnam War.
Former Indigenous Australian soldier Glenn James spoke proudly of the people who lived on ‘‘The Flats’’ at yesterday’s launch.
‘‘They were hard times,’’ Mr James said.
‘‘They were the pioneers — they were resolute and gems in our lives.
‘‘Everything we have done comes from what they have done.’’
The signs and pathway on the southern side of the causeway is a joint project between Greater Shepparton City Council, RiverConnect and the Yorta Yorta Nations Corporation supported by the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority and Parks Victoria.
Board members recall how they helped start Waratah Lodge, a retirement home that has lasted 25 years.
Police are currently at the scene of a double fatal collision involving two cars in at the Cahill Road, Gilmore Street and Woods Road intersection in Yarrawonga.
Tatura Community House held its annual High Tea fundraiser at the facility on Tuesday, with a full-house present to enjoy a sumptuous morning tea, good conversation and relaxing time together.
MORE than 130 camp oven enthusiasts turned up to the Torrumbarry Hotel for its annual camp oven cook off.
Rochester Historical and Pioneer Society hosted an afternoon tea to recognise long-standing members Barrie and Flora Griffin and John and Margaret Harley.
About 7600 residents served by Goulburn Valley Water are affected by a boil-water advisory.
Scone Equine Hospital relaunches local veterinary practice.
A beauty pamper day has raised a whopping $18k to assist local lady Terri Bevan with her ongoing medical costs associated with her brain tumour
A planning scheme amendment to allow the expansion and redevelopment of the IGA supermarket at Heathcote has been approved by the Victorian Planning Minister Richard Wynne.
The second Koonoomoo Pickers and Packers Charity Ball came to town on the weekend, and was bigger and better than ever.
An exciting three-hole playoff saw Virginia Lange take a narrow win in the Deniliquin Ladies Golf Championship last Thursday.
The second annual National Herd Development Victorian Winter Fair was in action at the Bendigo Exhibition Centre last Wednesday and Thursday.
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