Judyth Watson

Judyth Watson

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Pam Beggs

Pam Beggs

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    Buildings on Aboriginal site at Rottnest to be removed

    3/12/1992 12:00 AM
     
     
    The State Government will remove buildings located on an Aboriginal prisoners' cemetery on Rottnest Island.
     
    State Cabinet has agreed to a joint proposal from Aboriginal Affairs Minister Judyth Watson and Tourism Minister Pam Beggs which will lead to the removal of four buildings and a bitumen road which encroach the cemetery site.
     
    The decision follows extensive scientific investigations of the area commissioned by the Department of Aboriginal Sites and undertaken at the request of and in consultation with Aboriginal people.
     
    The buildings, which are holiday cottages located just south of the area known as Tentland, will be relocated.
     
    Dr Watson said the work, to cost $95,000, would begin once the latest data from scientific investigations was analysed and would likely occur early in 1993.
     
    A ground-probing radar program has been completed on a further area north of the known cemetery site, but results of the tests will not be known until early next year.
     
    "The work is in line with the Government's commitment to define the area of the Aboriginal cemetery and implement a plan to protect and commemorate the site in accordance with the wishes of Aboriginal people," Dr Watson said.
     
    "The cemetery has been gazetted as a temporary protected area under the Aboriginal Heritage Act since January this year.
     
    "It is hoped a conference can be held soon involving Aboriginal people from throughout Western Australia to discuss a suitable form of commemoration."
     
    Tourism Minister Pam Beggs said it was also proposed that an interpretive centre be established near the cemetery to educate the public on the history of Aboriginal internment on Rottnest Island.  The centre would also promote Aboriginal culture in a positive manner.
     
    "There has been lengthy consultation between the Department of Aboriginal Sites, the Rottnest Island Authority, the Rottnest Island Deaths Groups and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission," Mrs Beggs said.
     
    "All parties accept the need to clear and finalise protection measures for the cemetery area.
     
    "The relocation of these buildings is the first stage in the program to protect and commemorate the cemetery site."