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Lake Tyers Reserve
Lake Tyers Reserve had been set up in 1861, at the suggestion of the Victorian Board for the Protection of Aborigines. But public and government opinion did not favour the retention of reserves, and by the early 1950s, only Lake Tyers Reserve and Framlingham Station - each of tiny area - remained of the Victorian Aboriginal land base.
Assimilation - the Victorian Government's policy after 1957 - encouraged the relocation of rural reserve dwellers to towns, cities and jobs. As Lake Tyers' population dwindled the case for its closure increased, until, in 1962, the Government announced that no resident could remain after March 1965.
The media reported sympathetically when residents (and ex-residents) protested this decree. Pastor Doug Nicholls - widely understood to be a successfully 'assimilated' Aborigine - asked the Government to transfer Lake Tyers' title to its residents.
The Victorian Government responded by passing the Aboriginal Land Act 1970 which created two Aboriginal Trusts - one for Lake Tyers and one for the only other extant Victorian reserve, Framlingham - to own and manage the surviving land base of the Victorian tribes.
See: Campaign to save Lake Tyers
Treaty Republic is directed by Aboriginal activist Robbie Thorpe. Treaty Republic is committed to issues relating to Australian history, Indigenous sovereignty, lack of treaty, land-rights justice, genocide, national denial and 'Pay the Rent'.
Robbie Thorpe is from the Krautungalung people of the Gunnai Nation, the traditional owners of Lake Tyers. He has been active in initiating indigenous solutions and, in particular, has been a strong advocate for 'Pay the Rent', an indigenous initiative which would provide an independent economic resource for Aboriginal peoples. Robbie has initiated a number of legal actions, where he has argued that crimes of genocide have been committed against Aboriginal peoples throughout the history of the colonisation of Australia.
Genocide, Sovereignty & Treaty
By Robbie Thorpe April 2006
State Government and Melbourne City Council have little jurisdiction over the royal title of King’s Domain as it’s heiress, the Queen, does not complain of trespassing. Yet non-indigenous Ministers are officially in charge of all Aboriginal affairs in Australia and have the powers to ‘list or not to list’ what is sacred. The Australian Constitution is dangerously close to representing a dictatorship, as parliament erodes the freedom and well being of it’s people and leaves us living in the last western democracy without a Bill of Rights. After finally winning the right to vote just less than 40 years ago, Indigenous Australians still don’t have the enshrined human rights to practice their own religious ceremonies and traditions.
In 1947, the Genocide Convention was produced by the UN in response to WWII Nazi atrocities but was not incorporated into Australian domestic law until over 50 years later. In 1997, Robbie Thorpe and other activists began a successful 6 year legal battle with the federal government to finally put anti-genocide legislation in place for the first time.
Captain Cook and Commander in Chief Arthur Phillip never obeyed the King’s orders to negotiate "consent from the natives" before settlement nor cause those who "wantonly destroy the natives" to be "bought to punishment". The illegal occupation of Australia was a premeditated act of genocide to wipe out Indigenous life and remains the longest running undeclared ongoing genocidal war. With no Treaties or evidence of consent to colonise traditional lands, Indigenous Australia never ceded sovereignty and is under no jurisdiction of the Crown or backward British colonial law. All subsequent government laws and ‘assistance’ programs have focused on policies of assimilation, removal from traditional culture, enforced reliance on welfare and profiteering from Indigenous misery.
Eddie Mabo’s High Court ruling in 1992 was reported by the Herald Sun of the day as effectively telling the government to negotiate a Treaty with Indigenous Australia. "The decision stated that Aboriginal People had a pre-existing relationship with their land which was capable of the recognition and enforcement of the British legal system." With the lie of Terra Nullius invalidated by Common Law, it has yet to be replaced by a formal Treaty process.
Not since 1972 has the Australian public seen such mass media interest in Indigenous self-determination and justice. Like the Tent Embassy in Canberra, Camp Sovereignty is a neutral meeting place of social, spiritual and political significance to Aboriginal People that restores pride and dignity. Treating the causes instead of the symptoms by acknowledging land dispossession and annihilation of culture, the Sacred Fire represents the resurrection of a resting place to learn, practice and share Indigenous culture, and for visitors to be Welcomed to Country in a respectful way they will never forget.
Racism or Harmony?
By Robbie Thorpe April 2006
Some media has targeted mainstream mindsets with an utter fabrication of facts during campaigns of racial vilification and misinformation against Camp Sovereignty. Guards on duty at the Shrine of Remembrance saw no one from Camp go anywhere near the place, the jogger was a PR stunt woman out of work, and Robbie Thorpe’s ‘warrant’ was quickly withdrawn when police apologised for the ‘misunderstanding’ of falsely accusing him of stealing his own lucky silver 50 cent piece in his pocket!
Meanwhile up to 20,000 people have visited the Sacred Fire in just 6 weeks for the privilege to spend a day in the park and learn to listen to Elders about the way Aboriginal People do spiritual business. Countless tourists, locals and school children including members of devout Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and Jewish communities, have come to see for themselves that Camp Sovereignty is a special place to remember. Of all the thousands who passed through the Sacred Fire Smoking Ceremony, only one complained of feeling he’d been burnt; the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Gavin Jennings! During the Games, Jimmy Cliff invited Camp Sovereignty Elders on stage, while Paul Kelly, Kutcha Edwards, Michael Franti and even Cathy Freeman came to the Fire.
Visitors also signed Black GST declarations to the Prime Minister showing "support for the Indigenous People of Australia in their demand for justice, for the end of genocide, the restoration of sovereignty and entering into a process of good faith negotiation towards a Treaty…The Indigenous People of Australia are the oldest known culture on this planet and it is the responsibility of all of us to protect and respect tens of thousands of years of knowledge."
Nothing can extinguish the flames of healing that have permeated across the world from this Sacred Fire. As Robbie Thorpe says, "This is not a claim for land, this is a claim for lore…You can’t kill the spirit. You can’t put it out."
"As we sit on the banks of the Birrarung Marr,
Watching the effluent affluent toxins go past,
We ponder and watch our sacred land trashed,
With complete disrespect and utter ignorance.
Maybe that’s what the indoctrination of a lie
for over 200 years does to people’s minds.
White Australia has a Black History,
We’re talking about a mass murder mystery"
Robbie Thorpe, Camp Sovereignty 2006.
Originally published by: www.campsovereignty.wordpress.com
Some of the material on this website has been submitted by the Sub-Editor or other individuals; These submissions are subject to approval from Robbie and may not necessarily represent his specific views.