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The day native title ate Perth

By Graham Ring - posted Tuesday, 31 October 2006

New Years Eve is usually party-time, but for the citizens of Perth the last day of 2006 brings only sadness. There are tears and still-uncomprehending stares.

Whitefellas gather with their pathetic parcels, waiting for a seat on the shuttle bus that will take them away from the city of their birth for the last time.

The notice was unambiguous: “All white people must permanently vacate the Perth metropolitan area by midnight on the 31st of December 2006. Those expelled may take only personal effects and a maximum of $200 in cash. The personal safety of Europeans who remain within the city limits after this date cannot be guaranteed.”


The silence is eerie. Since the native title decision, the use of English has been outlawed and conversations may only be conducted in Indigenous languages. This has rendered most of the population mute.

Libraries have been looted and the books of the invaders have been burnt in great bonfires, started by rubbing two sticks together. The fires are tended by Aboriginal men armed with spears and boomerangs who say that orally transmitted dreaming stories are the only genuine store of knowledge.

All built structures including houses, shops, factories and public buildings have been constructed illegally on Noongar land and must be forfeited. Motor cars, whitegoods, furniture and other physical items are held to have been purchased with money obtained through employment that exploited Indigenous people and must also be forfeited.

These items will be auctioned off in the next few weeks to raise money to pay for the demolition crew ... the one that will raze every building to the ground, dig up and dispose of bitumen roads and remove every trace of European occupation.

The city borders are to be closed and no-one will be permitted to enter or leave. Over time, the land will regenerate and the native animals and plants will return to provide a source of food and medicine for the community as they revert to a traditional hunter-gather lifestyle.

Good story, eh?


I’ve drawn my inspiration from some of the alarmist nonsense being peddled by politicians and “community leaders” as they pass comment on the Noongar native title decision.

I’d written off our pollies as dead-set plodders, but some of the whoppers they’ve come out with since the Wilcox judgment have given me pause to rethink.

“Smiling” Philip Ruddock has contributed an unsubtle entry called “How the Aborigines stopped little Johnny from going to the beach”.

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First published in the National Indigenous Times in Issue 115, October 5, 2006

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About the Author

Graham Ring is an award-winning writer and a fortnightly National Indigenous Times columnist. He is based in Alice Springs.

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