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Home arrow Other Coastlines arrow Outside NZ arrow Holding the Beachhead: The Fight to Save Fingal
Holding the Beachhead: The Fight to Save Fingal PDF Print E-mail
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Other Coastlines - Outside NZ
Written by Andrew Chalk, Aboriginal Law Bulletin   
Friday, 11 April 2008


Aerial view of Letitia Spit Beach. Source: Surf Life Saving Australia

One Very Long Year

1989 was a year of siege and success for a small Aboriginal community living in north eastern New South Wales. The Fingal Community spent the year in the shadow of a tidal wave of concrete, that threatened to swallow their seaside lands with tourist developments and river works, whose estimated cost would have run to the billions. Leading this onslaught was a group of big spending Queensland property developers actively supported by National Party heavies, both harbouring a yen to see the Community shifted from their idyllic surroundings in a gamble for the tourist dollar.

Together with conservationists and the predominantly white resident groups, [the aboriginal community] had put aside differences and crafted a remarkable three way alliance to tackle the threat.

However, twelve months after proposals were first announced and in the wake of a major corruption inquiry, the tide had more than turned. Both developers and the State Government are beating a very public and embarrassing retreat. For the Community it had been an extraordinary year. Together with conservationists and the predominantly white resident groups, they had put aside differences and crafted a remarkable three way alliance to tackle the threat. It was a rare example of racial co-operation and understanding. While the threat of development has not entirely passed, it seems an appropriate time to reflect on the fortunes of Fingal.

A Community With a History

Separating the Tweed River from the Pacific Ocean, Fingal is a narrow peninsula several kilometres long. It ends at the mouth of the river and on the opposite bank lies Queensland. Its facilities total two shops, a boat shed, post office and caravan park. Fingal village nestles around the headland about half way along the peninsula. The peninsula north of the village is known as Letitia Spit, a sand spit that has been slowly accreting due mainly to the construction of the river's southern training wall. Along the Spit lives most of the Aboriginal Community, both past and present.

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Last Updated ( Friday, 11 April 2008 )
 
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