New book showcases threatened National Heritage Listed Aboriginal landscape in Tasmania

Media Release 10 August 2016


Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre and the Bob Brown Foundation will launch a new book in Hobart this week, titled: takayna – country, culture, spirit. It is the story of Tasmanian Aborigines living cultural connection to the National Heritage listed, Western Tasmania Aboriginal Cultural Landscape in takayna / Tarkine, and the fight to protect it from Government sanctioned damage.

‘This new book is a moving call to action to protect one of the world’s most spectacular and culturally significant places. State and Federal Governments need to reverse plans to reopen the off-road vehicle tracks between Sandy Cape and Pieman Heads on takayna / Tarkine coast,’ Bob Brown Foundation’s campaign manager Jenny Weber said.

‘Prime Minister Turnbull and Premier Hodgman have a choice, they will be responsible for ongoing irreparable and irreversible damage to Aboriginal cultural heritage, or provide secure protection for takayna / Tarkine,’ Jenny Weber said.

‘Prime Minister Turnbull and Premier Hodgman could ‘reset the relationship’ with Tasmanian Aborigines and securely preserve and protect the globally significant Aboriginal heritage and the World Heritage quality landscape of the takayna / Tarkine which warrants National Park status, nomination for World Heritage listing, and return to the custody of Tasmania's Aboriginal people. Instead they are both appealing a Federal Court ruling that re-opening the tracks would have significant and damaging impacts on the National Heritage listed Western Tasmania Aboriginal Cultural Landscape,’ Jenny Weber said.

‘The wild, remote coastline of takayna / Tarkine, on the very edge of the world, showcases thousands of years of Aboriginal heritage, representing an unbroken cultural connection.  The middens of the takayna / Tarkine are an incredible gift, telling us much more than just what people ate. They are layers of shells that showcase an amazing array of information about time, place and how the takayna people lived. When these middens are crushed by vehicles driven over them this information is destroyed. The damage is irreparable and irreversible – the story is lost forever,’ Sharnie Everett states in the book.

The new book is the Tasmanian Aboriginal people’s story of their living cultural connection to takayna / Tarkine and the struggle to protect it.  With a collection of portraits by Matthew Newton, Jillian Mundy and Paul Hoelen of members of the Tasmanian Aboriginal community, a forward written by Heather Sculthorpe and moving essay by Sharnie Everett, landscape photographs by Rob Blakers and Peter Dombrovskis, and introduction by Bob Brown.

The book launch will be held at 6pm on Friday 12 August at the Stanley Burbury Theatre UTAS, with Bob Brown and Heather Sculthorpe speaking.

Fundraising to pay for the project has been a success on the online crowd-funding site Pozible, with 450 supporters donating to reach the goal.

Tasmanian Aborigines and conservationists partner to share culture of takayna / Tarkine


Public Meeting and Book Launch

Stanley Burbury Theatre, UTAS, Hobart

12 August 2016 at 6pm

The Bob Brown Foundation and Tasmanian Aboriginal centre have partnered to publish a book titled takayna - country, culture, spirit.

The new 60-page book will be accompanied by a short film, produced by award-winning photographer Matthew Newton, and an action-oriented website petitioning Tasmania’s Premier and Prime Minister Turnbull for secure protection of the takayna / Tarkine coast.

A public meeting to launch the book, film and website will be held at the Stanley Burbury Theatre in Hobart next Friday, 12 August at 6pm. Bob Brown and Heather Sculthorpe will be speaking, the short film will premiere and singers Kartanya Maynard and muka nawnta – saltwater sisters will perform live.

The Tasmanian government adopted a policy to reopen 90km of off-road vehicle tracks across the dunes and middens of the remote takayna/Tarkine coastline. The Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre took the Tasmanian government to court and won. Now both the Australian and Tasmanian government are appealing the March 2016 Federal Court ruling that these tracks should remain closed. The appeal is due to go before the Federal Court in Hobart on August 22 and 23.

‘We urge those who share our concern for the protection of takayna to support efforts to ensure federal legal protection. Aboriginal cultural values have already served to have takayna included on Australia’s national heritage list. Yet takayna is still under threat and needs a mighty public effort to secure future protection,’ Heather Sculthorpe, CEO Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre said.

‘We are appalled that Governments would not only allow ongoing vandalism of Aboriginal culture and irreversible damage to a National Heritage Listed Area, but would also appeal a Federal Court decision stating that ongoing access would cause irreversible damage. These are regressive actions to destroy Aboriginal culture and rights,’ Jenny Weber said.

‘Prime Minister Turnbull needs to step in and halt this shameful attack on Aboriginal cultural heritage, the Tasmanian Aboriginal community, a national heritage listed landscape and globally significant coastline,’ Jenny Weber said.

‘This new book portrays the deep living cultural relationship of Tasmanian Aborigines to takayna / Tarkine. Nearly 200 years after forced dispossession, their unbroken cultural connection to country is shared in this unique book. This is a story that everyone needs to read and to share. With compelling argument by Tasmanian Aborigines and stunning and shocking photographs this book has a very significant place in Tasmania’s history,’ Bob Brown Foundation campaign manager Jenny Weber said.

The book will be made available to schools around Tasmania and other states of Australia. The Foundation is currently hosting a crowd-funding campaign to raise the funds to pay for the project at

Bob Brown Foundation is offering free bus transport from Burnie and Launceston for the Public Meeting / Book Launch.

Attached – image of the front cover of the book, inside spread examples. High Resolution images available on request.

The book is available for purchase online here.


Jenny Weber 0427 366 929
Heather Sculthorpe 0457 962 264


Background on the issue and book

The Federal Court ruled in favour of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre, finding that opening 4WD tracks 501, 503 and 601 would be a controlled action under the EPBC Act, and would have a significant impact on indigenous heritage values (even with the mitigation measures proposed by the government). Illegal vehicle access has continued throughout the court case.

'takayna - country, culture, spirit' is a unique collection of stories by, and photographic portraits of, Tasmanian Aborigines, with stunning landscape images of takayna.

Contributions by Heather Sculthorpe, Bob Brown, Sharnie Everett, Clyde Mansell, Rocky Sainty, Theresa Sainty, Adam Thompson, Caleb Pedder, Luana Towney, Jarrod Edwards and Colin Hughes.

Photographs by Matthew Newton, Rob Blakers, Peter Dombrovskis, Paul Hoelen, Bron McAnally & Jenny Schorta.

A few photos from the launch event, 12 August 2016

All photos copyright Arwen Dyer (thanks Arwen!)

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Takayna Film

This short film, produced by Matthew Newton, features  Aboriginal women on the spectacular takayna/Tarkine coast, sharing their stories of country and the irreversible damage by off-road vehicles to this vast, fragile heritage landscape.


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