LALC Member Profile: Patricia Laurie

16 February, 2015

“Land is us, it is our mother earth and we love the land”

My name is Patricia Laurie; I’m a Member of the Birrigan Gargle Land Council in Yamba, Far North Coast of NSW – God’s Country.

We are in a very big prime land area and we’re working hard to move in the area of property development. It will give our communities so much self-sufficiency.

I was inspired to get into Land Rights from a very early age. I was just leaving school and Gough Whitlam got into power. I saw our mob lobbying and fighting for Land Rights and marching and I thought, yes, that’s me so I got down to Sydney on a train every chance I had to join the fight for Land Rights.

I felt really inspired by Ossie Cruse and others who went over to Geneva, seeing them as part of the professional people’s delegation talking about Land Rights.

We did a lot of work with the Aboriginal Legal Service in Sydney and also the foundation for Aboriginal Affairs so we really got into it.

We were involved back in the 80s, full on. We were really proud that we ended up getting Land Rights, eventually.

Only recently the Birrigan Gargle LALC Chairperson Annette Laurie and I went to Sydney to protest against the Crown Lands Amendment Bill which aimed to stop land claims on the entire coastal area of NSW. As a result of the protest the Bill was withdrawn.

Land is us, it is our mother earth and without this land and without us doing things with certain parts of our land, we wouldn’t be here standing, but land is life, land is us and we love the land and Land Rights, the rights we’ve got for ownership and for creating whatever we want on our lands.

Acknowledgement

We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners of the lands where we work as well as across the lands we travel through. We also acknowledge our Elders past, present and emerging.

Artwork Credit: Craig Cromelin, from a painting he did titled, "4 favourite fishing holes". It is a snippet of his growing years on the Lachlan River, featuring yabby, turtle, fish and family.