Weblinks – Karunjie Station

Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC)

The ILC own and manage Karunjie Station.

“The ILC assists Indigenous Australians to acquire land and manage Indigenous-held land sustainably, to provide cultural, social, economic or environmental benefits for themselves and future generations.”

Karunjie Station History

Karunjie Station was formely known as Pentecost Downs. The history of the station is detailed on the associated Home Valley Station website.

“Providing a glimpse of the pastoral industry in Western Australia and that of Karunjie Station (Pentecost Downs) is the story of David William Rust (1892-1992). Born in Scotland, David Rust emigrated as a young man and enlisted in the 10th Light Horse Regiment when Australia entered the Great War. On his return from service overseas, he worked in the pastoral industry before taking on his own cattle station, Karunjie – which adjoins Durack River Station to the East and sits Southwest of Home Valley Station. “

Australian Article

The Australian newspaper’s Particia Karvelas wrote a front page article about the ILC on the 15th November 2008. Here is an excerpt, the emphasis is mine:

“Now the Rudd Government, along with the Indigenous Land Corporation, is to unveil an indigenous training and employment package for rural and remote Australia that will dramatically increase places and stop the decline in the number of Aboriginal stockmen.

The scheme will provide 530 certificate-level training places and employment for up to 400 indigenous graduates in the pastoral, tourism and resource sectors and in ILC businesses. These include cattle and sheep production, horticulture, transport and administration.

The ILC has committed $9.1million, with the Rudd Government providing $5.7million for the three-year scheme. And the Government has indicated it would dramatically expand the program over coming years. It will form part of mining billionaire Andrew Forrest’s bold scheme with the Rudd Government and business to create 50,000 jobs for Aborigines. The Weekend Australian has learnt 7000 jobs have been secured since the scheme was announced in August.

Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin said an important element of the training to employment package would be the development of relationships with the mining, oil and gas industries over the next three years to broaden job choices for graduates.

The ILC operates 14 businesses across Australia ranging from large cattle stations and tourism operations in the north, to wool and sheep properties in the south.

The training to employment package will be delivered through training centres based on ILC-operated businesses at Roebuck Plains Station near Broome, Home Valley Station in the East Kimberley, Waliburru Station in the NT, Crocodile Welcome Station on Cape York, Urannah Station near Townsville and on a smaller scale through eight other ILC businesses across Australia. “

Paul Toohey’s Australian Article – Cattlemen muster pride

Here is another link to a positive article about developments involving the ILC from esteemed journalist Paul Toohey. Excerpt below;

“The stories of getting idle Aboriginal properties working or of programs to get young Aboriginal blokes in the saddle seem to have all been told, minus the footnote that many of these schemes fall into a heap after short bursts of goodwill and enthusiasm.

There is, however, something different about this picture. It is that failure is not an option on Hodgson Downs station, nowadays known as Waliburru, off the Roper Highway, 500km southeast of Darwin. The Indigenous Land Corporation has provided serious capital, serious hands-on advice and a long-term business plan to ensure this Aboriginal cattle project will succeed.

The ILC has acquired 221 properties for indigenous use across Australia since 1995, the idea being to give Aborigines who have been unable to claim or buy land the chance to pursue cultural and economic benefits. Of recent times, the ILC has been expanding from land acquisition into pastoral strategies and now manages about 70,000 cattle on various Aboriginal-held stations. “

Home Valley Station

The following excerpt about nearby Home Valley Station was taken from the ILC’s Land Matters Issue 21 Summer Edition.

“Take a working cattle station with world-class eco-tourism wilderness at its doorstep, add a dash of East Kimberley
hospitality and serve it up through the efforts of enthusiastic Indigenous workers and you have a recipe for success
at the ILC’s Home Valley Station.
Situated on the Gibb River Road at the base of the stunning Cockburn Range, Home Valley is showing that pastoral-based
tourism can offer significant training and employment opportunities for Indigenous communities.

The ILC is developing the 248,934 hectare property to showcase its employment-based training model and Stage 1 of a major
upgrade of facilities at the station was completed late in 2007. This saw the construction of a new mechanical workshop, horse
stables and cattle yards, an improved water supply, state of the art electricity generator and a new radio communications tower,
access roads, ablution facilities and quality accommodation for staff, trainees and tourists.

Already in 2008, Stage 2 of the redevelopment is under way and this will provide new dining facilities, serviced motel rooms,
a swimming pool, a laundry and training and meeting rooms. It is a case of “build it and they will come”, with more than 5,000
guest nights sold during the recent tourist season at Home Valley.

Guests have a choice of accommodation, ranging from upmarket, safari-style units on the banks of Bindoola Creek, motel rooms
within the main station complex or staying at the nearby serviced bush camp on the banks of the Pentecost River. The tourism activities at Home Valley are fully integrated into the pastoral activities at the station with tourists participating in horse riding and property inspections accompanied by Indigenous guides.”


Baz Luhrmann’s Australia & The Tourist Boom Forecasts

Baz’s production team spent several weeks shooting on location in the Kimberley. Here are some ‘Fast Facts’ about the movie made available through Western Australia’s tourism website.

Many people are now expecting this movie will have a positive impact on the region, particularly by attracting tourists to the region. Western Australia’s  Tourism Minister, supports this thinking, as seen her in an excerpt from a Ministerial press release;

Tourism Minister Liz Constable today launched a major tourism campaign inspired by Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming feature film ‘Australia’.

 Dr Constable said the campaign, which would include cinema, print, online advertisements and in-flight television, would draw on the highly anticipated movie to bring significant tourism benefits to Western Australia.

 “The State Government, through Tourism WA, is undertaking a $2.2million marketing and public relations campaign across Australia and around the globe,” she said.

 “When the film is released later this month, there is no doubt the eyes of the world will be on WA and the Kimberley, where many of the scenes were shot.

 “We want to make sure that movie-goers who are inspired to visit the region know that it’s actually WA’s stunning landscapes and outback adventure they’re longing for.

 “That’s why the campaign positions the Kimberley area of WA as the ‘real star’ of Australia.”

 The Minister said the State Government partnered with Tourism Australia, 20th Century Fox and WA’s tourism industry for the world-wide campaign.

 “The campaign will feature primarily in Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany, New Zealand and Singapore,” she said.

 “Additional activity will get under way in the United States, Malaysia, Korea, China and Japan.

 “The Kimberley will be a strong focus of the campaign, but other key destinations will also be promoted, particularly experiences linked to the movie’s themes of adventure, romance and outback journeys.”

 Australia’s North West Regional Tourism Organisation chairman Ian Laurance said Luhrmann’s movie would mean significant exposure for the Kimberley.

 “Anyone who has visited the region would be aware of the breathtaking landscapes of the Kimberley and how impressive this will look on a big screen,” Mr Laurance said.

 “The people of the Kimberley are all very excited about the release of ‘Australia’, not just because of the anticipated benefit to tourism, but because they are very proud of their region and want to show it off to the world.”

 The advertising campaign will continue until June 2009.

The Cockburn Ranges (pictured below) are featured so prominently in the movie that, according to Sally Macmillian in her Herald Sun article, Home Valley Station has now packaged up a tour for them;

“A fresh addition is the HV8 Station Australia Movie Tour that takes in such locations as Nyali lagoon, Bindoola Falls and HV’s Private Lookout out to the Cockburn. At the latter you can sip bubbly as the ranges turn pink, blue and purple.”


Critical Voices about Australia

Recently the ever critical Germaine Greer reviewed the film and this was published with The Age Online. In it she made these critical remarks;

“Luhrmann’s fake epic, set in 1939, shows Aboriginal people as intimately involved in the development of the Lucky Country; the sequel would probably show Nullah, the Aboriginal boy who narrates the film, setting up an Aboriginal corporation and using mining royalties to build a luxury resort on the shores of Faraway Bay.”


“Faraway Downs — owned by Lady Sarah — is a cattle station like no other. Though it is said to be the size of Maryland, US, that is 10,500 square miles, it evidently has a staff of no more than eight: a disloyal manager, a drunken accountant, three Aboriginal cattle hands, two Aboriginal women and a Chinese cook, with only one house and a single bore that isn’t working.

The camera does not travel to where the Aboriginal workers would have lived with their extended families in a collection of humpies — shelters made of bark and branches — with no clean water, no sanitation and no electricity. As the humpies were not intended for continued habitation they would have been verminous and filthy; the workers would have been issued with a single set of work clothes, ditto.

Despite the appalling infant mortality rate, there would have been dozens of children of various shades. The Aboriginal workers would not have been paid, but simply given poor-quality rations, because the station owner claimed the whole
community as dependents. Aborigines did virtually all the heavy work, fencing, mustering, castrating, branding, slaughtering, digging dams, making roads, gardening, washing and cleaning.

No attempt would have been made to educate Nullah or his mates. With his own people he would have spoken “language”; with whitefellas, pidgin, nowadays called kriol, a rudimentary language specially devised by the colonialists for top-down communication. Unforgivably, Luhrmann has Nullah express himself in a cutesified stage version of pidgin. Nullah has no community beyond his mother and his grandfather and uncle, King George. He loses his mother, in an astonishingly contrived piece of business, so that he can follow the higher destiny of bringing two white folks together in their shared love of him. If white Australians had shown parental feeling towards mixed-race children, generations of them would not have had to be removed from Aboriginal communities by successive governments.”

 Response to Greer from Marcia Langton ‘Why Geer is wrong on Australia’ (23rd December 2008).


‘GERMAINE Greer should catch up on Australia’s “history wars”. During the past decade, nitpicking writers persecuted and pilloried historians of the tragedy that befell Aborigines. The denialists must be rubbing their hands with glee at the claims made by Greer, especially her inaccuracies, in her castigating and misleading assertions about Baz Luhrmann’s Australia.

Her attacks on me are partly in response to my own review of the film in The Age. I was a senior consultant to the television series First Australians and worked with often distressing historical records for almost seven years; nine months after the apology to the stolen generations by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, I was thrilled with Luhrmann’s compassion and good humour, and his visionary way of overcoming the guilt complex that poisons our national debate, and, as we have seen, Greer’s view of her homeland and Aboriginal people.

The film is a romance, not a documentary. Greer wants to have it both ways, dismissing it with standards applied to documentaries and Tory history, and describing the plot as “Mills & Boon”.’





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