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King Billy Turner’s mob takes aim at train line

Descendants of King Billy Turner, the last king of the Yuggera nation in Queensland, are taking legal advice in a bid to stop a train line being built that would disturb an Aboriginal graveyard where he could be buried.

Daniel Thompson said his group wants an urgent stop on any work on the 25km Ipswich to Springfield Public Transport Corridor that would run through 50m of significant Aboriginal land and the Deebing Creek Mission.

Mr Thompson said the mission, a cemetery and former Aboriginal reserve, had a dark past. It was a massacre site in the 1800s and graves could be scattered outside the cemetery area.

He said it could also be King Billy’s final resting place.

Mr Thompson said they also wanted a halt to housing development in the wider Springfield region until its impact on Aboriginal sites could be assessed

“In the short term, we want everything stopped at the Deebing rail,” Mr Thompson said.

“To stop everything in the short term, to shut down any work at the moment, because it’s just all full steam ahead and destroying a lot of land and killing a lot of animals.”

Mr Thompson said the Ipswich Council and Queensland Government had been consulting with the wrong Aboriginal groups for a decade over the rail project and housing developments.

“We want to stop the whole lot of it,” he said. “The stuff at Springfield is large scale. There’s a lot of wildlife there and there are a lot of sites that are significant to us as well that are being destroyed in that development and others.

“In a sense we haven’t been consulted on any of it and we’re the ones with the most links to the country.”

The Ipswich to Springfield Public Transport Corridor Study conducted in 2006 detailed plans for a corridor – possibly with heavy rail – between Ipswich, 40km west of Brisbane, and Springfield, about 21km to its south-east.

The Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads was approached for comment on Tuesday.

By Wendy Caccetta

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