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.
Goulburn Valley has mostly selected skips in its bid to reclaim the Norm Knopp Shield tomorrow.
Beautiful weather greeted Tungamah residents for the 18th running of the Tungamah Lions Ten Thousand on Sunday.
When Keith and Marion Grumley and their growing family moved to Tatura on January 18, 1968, little did they know that it would be the start of a long and lasting connection to the town.
Garners Boxing Gym in Echuca is encouraging young people to get active with weekly boxing/cardio classes.
Rochester Rotary Club has celebrated its 50th birthday in style.
Sorting future of Campaspe pools
A theatre production with a difference is coming to Seymour.
Local athletes will go head-to-head with some of the best competitors from around the world in swimming and athletics in December.
District residents and visitors will be able to enjoy some of the region’s most beautiful private gardens on Sunday.
The 116th annual Cobram Show went off with a bang at the weekend, drawing in crowds from far and wide for two days of fun.
Tomorrow is a Total Fire Ban day in Deniliquin, meaning no fires can be lit in the open and all fire permits are suspended.
Fifty new full-time jobs will be created at Tatura with a multimillion-dollar expansion of the abattoirs expected to be announced today.
Remembering Australian political giant Gough Whitlam who once called on Benalla police to stop then Treasurer Frank Crean on his journey up the Hume to phone the PM.
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