Traditional owners put the call out to help make site as safe and sustainable as possible. Elder Roberta Graham, Lekina and Shale Thompson.
Traditional owners put the call out to help make site as safe and sustainable as possible. Elder Roberta Graham, Lekina and Shale Thompson. Cordell Richardson

NOT GOING ANYWHERE

CAMPERS who have occupied the land at the sacred Deebing Creek Mission site for the past eight months say they will stay as long as it takes and have now put the call out for helping hands.

The Yuggera Ugarapul People are working to upgrade their facilities as part of a working bee today in a bid to make their space more suitable for permanent living as they continue to protect the land.

"As soon as we can get more safe and sustainable living quarters here, whether that's a caravan or humpy or anything, then we'll plant it here for as long as it takes,” Lekina Thompson said.

"Really, I don't know what the outcome is going to be.

"We're just taking it day by day, but we're hoping it's going to turn in our favour and we're going to get Deebing Creek handed back to us.

"We've been successful for the past five years, when they first wanted to come in here and we've held them off for that long.”

Frasers Property has planned for a housing development on 115-ha of land at Deebing Creek since 2015.

It announced in January work on a 925-home estate would progress; prompting Indigenous Australians to occupy part of the site.

The land borders the Deebing Creek cemetery and includes the site of the former Aboriginal mission.

The developers then pledged last month to hold off construction until a significant site survey is complete.

Ms Thompson said many people fail to recognise the significance of the area.

"It's not only a cultural site, there are gathering rings, sacred trees, plants and artefacts, but it's also historical too because it was one of the first missions in Queensland,” Ms Thompson said.

"This is also history for a lot of indigenous mob all over, because there were so many tribes living here on the mission and their people would be buried here somewhere too.

"No one knows any of that kind of information and they see this as just bush and they don't really understand.

"That's one of the main reasons we're fighting for it, because we want the whole community to know the truth of what happened here.

"We just want the chance to regenerate the bush around here and use this place for cultural learning and educational purposes.”

A Frasers Property spokesman stated no progress would be made on the project until the outcomes of the surveys provided a path to do so.

"We are working with the Yuggera Ugarapul People towards the commencement of the cultural survey on the site shortly,” said a Frasers Property spokesperson.

"The CHMP with the Yuggera Ugarapul People and Frasers Property Australia sets out the process for the cultural survey to be commissioned and undertaken.

"We are hopeful the survey will be complete in early 2020.”

The campers will start tidying the land today to make way for possible shipping containers, sheds and other materials.

"Anything that we can basically lock up our kitchen and belongings and stuff in,” Ms Thompson said.

"With the water and the rain that's coming and all of that, we need something that can be locked up.”