- The Fraser Island Wild Horse (brumby) story/campaign
Not to be confused with the Palm Island brumby issue where some
brumbies were treated badly by a minority group.
The Queensland Government Department of Environment, under the control
of Environment Minister Mr Dean Wells, has illegally removed about
eleven brumbies from Fraser Island, off the Queensland coast. A
contract was given to Ms Shirley Gott by the Queensland Parks &
Wildlife Service (QPWS) to remove these brumbies. The initial information
received was that she was going to remove about 6 brumbies for breeding
purposes. It was later heard that she had removed eleven brumbies
of which some would be used for breeding and some for riding at
her riding school, and some for adoption/sale. A recent television
report said that she was going to remove the remainder later in
the year. The manner in which the media first broke the news about
the removal of brumbies by QPWS was that Ms Gott was 'rescuing'
the brumbies, and that they had to be removed under the long term
environmental management plan for island. The brumbies are not being
rescued, they are being stolen.
Elder John Jones
Lyall Sempf had some discussions with a couple of indigenous
(aboriginal) elders who have traditional land rights over Fraser
Island, it has been confirmed that the original horses brought
over to the island belonged to the ancestors of some traditional
owners, and that they want the brumbies to remain on the island.
There are also aspirations by some indigenous owners to use
the brumbies for tourism purposes. Under Native Title Law and
Common law, these brumbies actually belong to the ndigenous
people, and hence the removal of these brumbies is considered
as straight-out daylight theft. The brumby removal issue has
caused major upset to traditional owners and the general brumby
advocate community, with the indigenous people now taking this
issue to the federal court level.
Monday 25th August, Lyall Sempf and indigenous Elder John Dalungdalee
Jones of the Dalungbar Tribe protested in Brisbane over the removal
and theft of these brumbies. Elder Jones was to attend a federal
court case over indigenous affairs that day anyway, so Lyall Sempf
rode his horse from Elder Jones home, through the streets of Brisbane
city to the federal court. Lyall then walked, trotted and cantered
his horse around the inner streets of Brisbane until sundown. A
number of TV reporters filmed the protest ride, with interviews
taking place at Elder Jones home and the federal court house.The
protest sign on Lyalls horse read "Minister Wells, Return
the stolen Fraser brumbies back to the indigenous".
numbers of brumbies on the island are not known, although it is
believed there may have been about 25 before the removal of the
11. In an already low gene diversity situation, the removal of some
brumbies now has significant detrimental affects on the long term
sustainability of a healthy herd. Outside blood may
have to be introduced at some time in the future to rectify possible
genetic abnormalities and problems, so it is vital that the removed
brumbies be returned to the island under the ownership of the indigenous
Elder John Dalungdalee Jones is a descendant of Harry and Lappy
Aldridge. Harry Aldridge bred Waler horses on Fraser Island in the
1800s for the English army in India. (The Waler is Australias
famous war horse) These horses have been isolated from the mainland
since the late 1800s and hence have a distinct genetic heritage
Wells and QPWS claim that the brumbies are being removed under the
long term objective under the Great Sandy Region Management Plan
1994-2010. The Great Sandy Region Management Plan has no legislative
authority - it is merely a management plan. The Management Plan,
page 72 states "Feral horses will be removed from Fraser Island
and Cooloola" however it also states, Page 1 "Note - Nothing
in this Management Plan is intended to diminish or extinguish native
title and associated rights".
the Queensland Nature Conservation Act 1992, Section 6 states "Community
participation in administration of Act - This Act is to be administered,
as far as practicable, in consultation with, and having regard to
the views and interests of, land-holders and interested groups and
persons, including Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders".
In July 1997, Justice Shepherdson J. made a Representative Order
that Elder Jones represent the 22 elders of the aboriginal family
groups of the Ngulungbara, Batchala and Dalungbara Peoples of Fraser
Island and Wide Bay area.
Elder Jones was not consulted about the removal of brumbies from
as Fraser Island is World Heritage Listed, it comes under international
law (international treaty to the UN).
Under this law, an environmental impact study must be done before
considering doing anything with the brumbies.
An impact study was not done. At a private meeting last year between
Minister Wells, and Lyall & Kristine Sempf and Ann Pearson of
BWA, Wells was advised of the requirements of an impact study under
Wells response was "Ill look into it." Wells obviously
didnt look too far.
has also violated/abused the Queensland Environmental Protection
Agency Strategic Plan 2003-2006; the Commonwealth Standing Committee
on Environmental Heritage - Managing Australias World Heritage,
Ch. 4; and the Priority Environmental Policies Queensland 2001-2004
produced for the Queensland 2001 election.
has also been disseminating misinformation about this Fraser Island
issue. This is to be expected.
Sempf has been on the road a lot over the last two weeks campaigning
over, and bringing awareness to the illegal
removal of these brumbies. Your support is needed.
You can help in this campaign by protesting to following, requesting
that the stolen brumbies be returned to Fraser Island under the
ownership of the indigenous/traditional owners, where these brumbies
can be managed by the indigenous owners.
Environment Minister Dean Wells
P.O. Box 155 Brisbane Albert Street
Queensland 4002 Australia
Ph 07 3225 1800 Fax 07 3229 6920 Email email@example.com
Premier Peter Beattie
PO Box 185 Brisbane Albert Street
Queensland 4002 Australia
Ph 07 38321322 Fax 07 32213631 Email firstname.lastname@example.org