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Bid for Sacred Flame in Dandenong April 20, 2006

Posted by campsovereignty in Camp News.
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This just in…

A DANDENONG park has been pinpointed as a site for a sacred Aboriginal flame in the wake of a controversial fire established this month by indigenous protesters in central Melbourne.

Camp Sovereignty in Kings Domain has this month generated debate across the state after organisers refused to stop camping around a sacred flame when requested by Melbourne City Council.

A Greater Dandenong councillor is now seeking to have a sacred flame installed in Dandenong Park, with councillors to decide on the matter in coming weeks.

Cleeland Ward councillor Paul Donovan this week revealed he will ask council to consult Aboriginal communities to establish a sacred flame in Dandenong Park, “to be maintained at all times by council and the local indigenous population”.

“Like many of you, I have been touched by the recent events in Melbourne, where Aboriginal activists have sought to provide a sacred space for the original custodians of the land,” Cr Donovan’s notice of motion says.

“Surely if the City of Melbourne does not want to cater to its indigenous population, Greater Dandenong, which boasts of its cultural diversity, would not shun our indigenous population in such a way.”

Cr Donovan said if a flame was not possible, the council could look at installing a monument or icon of indigenous cultural significance.

Camp Sovereignty organiser Robbie Thorpe told Star he welcomed the idea and was now determined to have a sacred flame established in Dandenong Park.

“(The flame) is symbolic of (Aboriginal) law and culture and the healing process,” he said.

Mr Thorpe said the Kings Domain fire would burn “forever” and that a similar project in Dandenong would also burn continuously.

“It can’t be defiled; once it is, it hasn’t got powers in it no more,” he said.

Mr Thorpe said a stone hut based on ancient Aboriginal architecture could be built to house both the flame and a person who would tend to it and act as a cultural liaison officer.

Greater Dandenong mayor Peter Brown said council had been discussing a tribute or resource centre with local Aboriginal communities for the past two years.

But he said any fire lit like the one in Kings Domain would not be tolerated as it could pose a danger during fire season.

“It would have to be a gas flame, like a gas barbecue except it goes all day, with the flame a symbol of recognition. The one in Melbourne’s Botanic Gardens is so impractical.”

Interfaith Network president Helen Heath said the organisation, which promotes harmonious relationships between the city’s religious and spiritual bodies, supported the idea, but only with community input.

“We are in support of anything that serves as healing and reconciliation,” she said.

“But it is up to the community. They have to get involved and get the support.”

Story here The nice thing about that news site is that they have a web forum attached to all their stories so you can discuss them online. Nice bit of democracy coming form the media! Although you do need to register.

There are also rumours of a similar proposal coming from the City of Yarra, the Fire is spreading like the word!

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