INJUSTICE - Hidden in plain sight...
What happened to the globally-beloved kangaroo, koala and other Australian indigenous animals under the beliefs and traditions of colonialism? How did their fate during 200 years of nation building become a fugitive drama of dispossession and disrespect – and what is today’s little known and blood-stained legacy in a world rapidly losing its biodiversity?
Documentary journalist Maria Taylor, author of Global warming and climate change: what Australia knew and buried, unveils a cultural history of warfare against Australia’s other indigenous inhabitants. Her investigation exposes David and Goliath battles for the wildlife and nature of Australia – with worldwide echos. Here also are paths to reconciliation and sharing that marry the ecological and the economic.
Voices in these pages come from citizen activists, first Australians, scientists and authors, graziers and industry whistleblowers.
“I’ve seen really sad things with kangaroos, horrendous wounding. Kangaroos dying for days.”
Terri Irwin learned about Australia’s industrial-scale kangaroo meat and skin industry first hand while rehabilitating a grazing property in Central Queensland.
“I rang the federal member for Roma the other day and said: have you been into Parliament to tell them to change the coat of arms for Australia? She says why? I said because you’ve shot the kangaroo and emu out. She slammed the phone down on me.”
Tom King Sr, land manager, retired kangaroo shooter, wildlife policy critic.
Today, there are farmers and other landholders taking up Radcliffe’s advice and striving to become part of a more natural order while still successfully running a business on the land. In the past decades, there has been much successful experimentation with land regeneration to revive soil, water, and vegetation natural systems. Some without embarrassment call it farming in greater harmony with nature – they mean the nature of Australian landforms
from INJUSTICE extract “Sharing”
“The organised savagery with which kangaroos are being hunted today is equalled in our history only by the appalling massacre of koalas in 1927.”
Foundation Professor Zoology, Monash University, in 1966 book The Great Extermination
INJUSTICE - Appendix
[p 406] A 2006 shooting experiment in Wyperfeld National Park in northwest Victoria on mallee country demonstrated wildlife management and its outcomes conducted without baseline population and ecological studies. The experimental shooting set out to mimic dingo predation of an already modest kangaroo population of two kangaroos per hectare. The research reported on annual shooting but there was no mention of baseline populations studies, ongoing scientific monitoring or annual evaluation of outcomes. After eight years of shooting the population collapsed.
What became a national park offers a classic case study of sheep farming, land clearing, water diversion and finally blaming the wildlife for the enduring impacts of historic land degradation. Wyperfeld National Park was described by the cull researchers as having “no water” prior to the advent of Europeans, (despite having a lake and dry lake beds). Nevertheless, the report noted “thousands” of wild dogs in a landscape “swarming” with kangaroos when white man arrived.1
Settlement led to “heavy grazing” (20,000 sheep by the 1870s) and rabbit incursion…
“I struggle now, get quite depressed, since I have educated myself on the biology and the mob structure and that sort of thing. Because I know now how many macropod families I’ve blown apart and completely destroyed and caused chaos within those animals.”
former kangaroo shooter now wildlife carer and advocate, 2019
Private property wildlife management: Narrandra NSW Kangaroo and Emu hunt 1946
PHOTOGRAPHED BY NORMAN HERFORT, 30 APRIL 1946. SOURCE: STATE LIBRARY OF NEW SOUTH WALES