‘Walkatjurra Walkabout – Walking for Country’
is a celebration of Wangkatja country, a testament to the strength of the community who have fought to stop uranium mining at Yeelirrie for over forty years, and a chance to come together to continue share our commitment to a sustainable future without nuclear. It is a chance to reconnect with the land, and to revive the tradition of walking for country.
An update from the first week walking on the special red-earth country of the Northern Goldfields.
Early on a fresh Sunday morning people gathered together at East Perth Train Station, identifying fellow walkers by their sturdy boots, smiles and swags. In 2015, and every year since 2011, a community have come together to raise awareness of the impacts of uranium mining and to walk in solidarity with Aboriginal people on whose land uranium mining is proposed. Walking the country slows us down and creates space for those stories to be told and properly heard. In 2015 the Walk is returning to the beginning of the 2011 route, from Wiluna to Lenora.
After two long days of travel the convoy finally arrived into a campsite north of remote Wiluna. The journey included an important stop-over in Kalgoorlie, camping out at the Wongutha Birni Cultural Centre, picking up some last minute supplies and listening to stories from Traditional Owner Geoffrey Stokes and his wife Christine.
The first few days were spent in preparation for walking; this included resting from the road trip ☺ and enjoying being free from the distractions of our everyday lives. We also organised into affinity groups, made rosters for camp operations and started to meet our fellow walkers. The group this year includes traditional custodians on whose country we will walk through, families, photographers and documenters, people from all over Australia, and international guests from Taiwan, France, Iran, Japan, United States, UK and New Zealand. This was also an opportunity to hear from the traditional custodians who would be guiding our walk.
Covering 90 km in 5 days the first stretch of walking took us from Wiluna to the gates of Yeelirrie, a proposed uranium mine owned by Cameco. In the first few days we walked past Toro Energy’s Lake Way proposed uranium mine and turned west onto a dirt road toward Yeelirrie.
Once off the main road we could really take the time to appreciate the constantly changing landscape, and the plant and animal life. These walking days were filled with the daily rhythm ~ rising with the sun, taking down camp, morning circle, walking with our toes in the desert sand – stopping every now and again to appreciate a new Grevillia species or sand track, yummy dinners at camp, and ending with stories by the camping fire under the shining desert stars and a growing moon.
On the fifth day we arrived to Yeelirrie and were joined by Federal Senators, State members of Parliament, journalists and a Buddhist Nun from Japan. Some of the group went on a tour of Toro’s Lake Way proposed mine site, a lucky or unlucky opportunity depending on your idea of fun especially given the long relaxing yoga class in the sun enjoyed by the rest of the group. In the afternoon and into the evening we listened to stories from traditional custodians, local pastoralists, politicians and International Walkers about culture and country, the impacts of uranium mining and the current state of the uranium industry and proposed mines.
It is with these stories that we share and grow our understanding of the threats from the nuclear industry to our health, the environment, Indigenous people and culture around the globe; and strengthen our resolve to never allow digging up the uranium in the first place.
The first week has been both challenging and empowering, stimulating us to ask more questions and open our minds and hearts to the possibility of a nuclear free future.
The Walk brings together inspiring people from all backgrounds for a common purpose, and anything can happen.
Some walkers have come from a long way away at their own personal expense.. We would like to help cover there food costs while on the walk..
CAN YOU HELP SPONSER A WALKER..
$50 sponsors one walker for 5 days.
$100 for 10 days..
$300 entire walk for one person
All donations are tax deductible..
Make a tax deductible donation just CLICK HERE
Looking forward to seeing many of you in the next few weeks and for those who can’t make it this year make sure you follow us on facebook or via the webpage 😉
If you have any questions then please feel free to call or email..
Marcus Atkinson: 0400 505 765 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Peace & Solidarity
Walkatjurra Walkabout Crew