SHIELDING CONSIDERATIONS, LAVERTON – WARBURTON AREA, 1956 – 1957

The weather station mentioned in the following Western Australian Parliamentary Select Committee Report refers to the Giles weather station. This station was important to the nuclear test program and also had the function of measuring fallout in this high fallout area. The station commandeered land and peranent water which reduced both the hunting area available to the Aboriginal people. The loss of the permanent water supply to the nuclear test authorities had profound effects upon the Aboriginal people in the severe drought year of 1957. But the Nuclear authorities had full radiators in their Land Rovers, even as people died in the outposts. I have a still frame photo and 1957 film showing the body of a deceased Aboriginal person who died of thirst in a dried up creek bed at that time. I will not post it. The weather station and a map showing the area covered by the Warburton Reserve is here: http://indigenousrights.net.au/subsection.asp?ssID=89

1957 was a severe drought year. The establishment of the Maralinga nuclear test site had for a number of years, already reduced the hunting and ceremonial areas available to the Aboriginal people who found themselves without sufficient water and food.

The siting of the fallout monitoring station attests to the reality of the situation. The evidence of extreme privation is clear in this report and any competent authority would consider this prima facie evidence of increased vulnerability to nuclear fallout and to the uptake of radionuclides in such food as the people find.

While the Western Australian Parliament , the missionaries and the Aboriginal people themselves had a very detailed view of who was where and when, these facts were no sought by any British or Australian nuclear test authority.

The people who came to rely on the Warburton Mission had little choice as their normal routes, normal access to territory and resources were denied them by order of the British and Australian governments, who claimed to be acting “On Her Majesty’s Service” (OHMS). Ironically and tragically the Aboriginal people were told that they were under the Protection of the Crown at the time.

The suffering imposed is highly documented in the historical record . Such abuse prepared the afflicted people as highly vulnerable individuals and groups who resided close in to the Maralinga nuclear site in terms of fallout arrival times. It did not take long to reach them and their food supply.

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In 1957 Mr. Garden wrote to the Commonwealth Minister of Supply , Mr Beale. Grayden asked for sufficient funds to enable the establishment of a vegetable garden at the Warburton Mission.

Minister Beale refused the funds.

Let them eat Cesium and strontium. The idea that nuclear authorities do not experiment on humans and only use mice is false. The mice used in current experiments are inadequate and serve as veil to the past reality. Which is still a current reality.

The Grayden report of 1957 contains very strong evidence of harm caused by, and compounded by, the actions and deliberate inaction of both British and Australian authorities and nuclear authorities.

There is no basis to the claim that there is “no way forward” for victims of Maralinga. The reasons for the withdrawal of the claim before the British Courts on behalf of Australian Aboriginal People do not add up.

The British authorities must be pleased at the resultant “self weeding” of a claim that has strong moral basis and a strong basis in law.

It the courts are denied the opportunity to reveal the stories, it is up to Australians to reveal the stories.

And this is what, in my own feeble manner, I shall do. Though the people who were witnesses have witnessed over decades, it is time to carry it on into the future.

Every exposure of the truth to the light of day adds up.

For the next week or this is all that I shall work on.

The international reader must understand that for the last five years or so, maybe longer, must work had been put into the legal case in London mounted on behalf of Aboriginal Australians. With the withdrawal of that claim, for some spurious reason, there is a need for me to act locally.

Shielding considerations for the Aboriginal people of the Warburton Reserve? I do not see any. What I see is the erection of elevated water tanks at the Giles Weather station, so that the white employees had gravity fed water for showering in. Changing clothes everyday, they would measure the wind and stuff, and set off in their vehicles to lay out the sticky paper which collected the fallout. Meanwhile, on the boundary of the site and further into the reserve, the Aboriginal people, denied over 250,000 acres of land and their only permanent oasis, went hungry and thirsty. Sure the kids got to eat fresh unwashed cauliflower stalks and fresh goat milk, and to the trained eye, the unwarned and uniformed missionaries may as well have been feeding the kids I 131 and Sr89. For unwittingly, they were.

The people of the Maralinga lands had been trucked south to Yalata by the Army. There was no choice. The people of the desert were concentrated, by the blockade of Maralinga and Sladen Waters, at the Warburton Reserve.

Two clearly defined constrained and depleted groups. Two populations. In relation to the primary plumes issuing from Maralinga, each group was located at different.

I have not finished with this yet, but next, a comparison with the Marshall Island experience.


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