Our recent trip to Yindjibarndi country took us to Roebourne. Roebourne is a small town about 1500 kilometres north of Perth. The surrounding country is geologically one of the oldest formations in the world and is deeply significant to Aboriginal people. According to Elliot Johnston QC, Commissioner for the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, there have been two waves of dispossession in the region, the first with the pastoral industry and the second through mining. The resulting displacement of Aboriginal people from their traditional lands has had ongoing and devastating effects. The town itself runs parallel with the Harding River. Opposite the river is the infamous Victoria Hotel: the site of the arrest of 16 year old Aboriginal boy, John Pat. John Pat's treatment at the hands of the local police and his subsequent death in his cell were at the centre for the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. It makes for very upsetting reading. The history of this area is both rich and disturbing. The hotel now lies derelict as it awaits a new and far more positive future.
All images copyright Marnie Richardson
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