A big convoy carrying oil-drilling equipment to a site in the north-west of Western Australia has arrived amid noisy demonstrations by trade unionists and aborigines.
SV & CU Aborigines dancing (performing tribal rites) at Noonkanbah Station, Western Australia (4 Shots)
SV Aborigines PAN TO Aborigine holding flag (2 shots)
SV Aborigines listening to man reading statement
GV & SV Demonstrators sitting on road with their vehicles being watched by police (5 shots)
GV & SV Vehicles being pulled away by police (2 shots)
GV & SV Polish arresting demonstrators (6 shots)
SV & GV Police containing demonstrators (3 shots)
GV & SV Convoy passing demonstrators while they jeer. Police containing crowd (7 shots)
GRAHAM JENKIN (REPORTER): "Aborigines met at Noonkanban station yesterday (Tuesday, 12 August) to symbolically reclaim their land from the West Australian government. A corrroboree (meeting) was attended by people from the Noonkanbah community and aborigines from other parts of the Pilbara and Kimberley. During the ceremony an aboriginal land rights flag was flown and rifle shots were fired into the air. It was designed to be a parallel to ceremonies carried out by white settlers in Western Australia but the difference being that aborigines were claiming back the land."
TOM DREWELL (REPORTER): "The biggest protest came yesterday (Tuesday 12 August) morning as the convey neared the end of its trip at the turn-off to the station from the main Great Northern Highway. In a last stand, about 70 people set up a blockade of seven vehicles where the road narrowed over a dry creek bed. Joined by seven clergymen who'd flown specially to the area, the protesters confronted the police advance party of more than 30 men and about 20 police vehicles, including three paddywagons. The vehicle barricade presented only a small problem. A big grader and front-end loader were used to drag the cars out of the way. But, the human obstacle proved harder to clear. Despite an official warning that charges would be laid the demonstrators remained where they were. After a moment's silence the aborigines broke into a deep chant. Moments later, the police closed in. Tempers flared on both sides and at one stage a senior police officer appealed to his men to restrain themselves. The end result by the time the convoy arrived: twenty-two people had been arrested including five of the clergy."
GRAEME SHENTON: (REPORTER): "This was the awesome sight as the massive convoy of vehicles under police escort made its way onto the aboriginal pastoral lease in the north of Western Australia. Police, including Aboriginal aides in uniform, lined each side of the road to keep the 200-strong crowed at bay. But, there was no need. Only minutes before they'd heard the news that the Australian Workers' Union had blacked banned the rig. For the aborigines on the station the arrival of the convoy was to be greeted with jeers and gestures. It was almost as if the circus was arriving in town. For the convoy, it was the end of a trek of mor than 3,000 kilometres which saw demonstrations resulting in nearly 50 arrests. It now seems the battle for Noonkanbah will become a battle of words, union action and political manoeuvres."
REPORTER: GRAHAM JENKIN/TOM DREWELL/GRAEME SHENTON
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Background: A big convoy carrying oil-drilling equipment to a site in the north-west of Western Australia has arrived amid noisy demonstrations by trade unionists and aborigines. The convoy pulled into Noonkanbah Station on Wednesday (13 August) with tight police security, which had surrounded it since it left Perth, the capital of Western Australia, some 3,000 kilometres away. It took three days to go to the site which the local Aborigines consider to be sacred, the home of heir so-called "Great Goanna", a lizard-type God. However, the Australian Workers' Union has banned drilling at the site by the American-owned company, Amax. Reporters on the scene take up the story.