Qld Aboriginal mission bones 'not human'

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Bone fragments found at a development site near a former Aboriginal mission in Queensland are not human, the state government says.


The bones are at the centre of a dispute over a childcare development application near the heritage-listed Deebing Creek Aboriginal Mission and cemetery, west of Brisbane.

Ipswich Council and local activists oppose the development on "cultural heritage grounds" amid concerns about unmarked graves in the area.

This month, the council asked the state government to publicly release a police report into the bone fragments.

That report hasn't been released, but Police Minister Mark Ryan says the probe found the bones were not human.

"I am advised by the Queensland Police Service (QPS) that an examination by an expert anthropologist concluded that the bone fragments are (1) not human; and (2) most likely from a pig or a wallaby," he wrote on Tuesday, in response to a question on notice from the Greens.

The council received 160 objections since developer AV Jennings applied to build a childcare centre near the former mission. 

In October, Deputy Premier Steven Miles, who has jurisdiction over cultural heritage matters, asked the Ipswich council for its refusal reasons. 

Chief executive Sonia Cooper said the council wanted to stand with Indigenous people and other community members who are strongly opposed to the project.

Indigenous protesters also held a smoking ceremony on the site of a separate housing development near the former mission in October.

Toolmoor Truth and Healing Embassy members said they wanted to halt land-clearing under way as part of Stockland's 2300-home Botanica development.

In 2019 the developer and the Yuggera Ugarapul native title claimants agreed to a cultural management plan for the project.

Stockland said the protesters were not part of the native title claimant group, which inspected the site and gave the green light for earthworks to begin.

The protesters said they believe there are unmarked graves on the Botanica site, which they say was also where an undocumented colonial massacre of Aboriginal people occurred. 

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