Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 17 February 1999



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 17 February 1999

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Parliamentary Record 14


Debates for 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Wednesday 17 February 1999 and Mining Tribunal for determination, the other amendments are largely inconsequential. It is acknowledged however, that some of the proposed changes improve the workability of the Territory schemes. The Territory must now wait for other parties to consider and deal with the proposed alternative schemes. This includes the representative bodies, the Commonwealth Attorney-General and both Houses of federal parliament. Provided they are assessed objectively it is my firm belief that the Territory schemes will withstand any scrutiny. They go beyond meeting the minimum specified requirements and provide a fair, workable system that allows anyone with an interest in land to have their say in respect of land use application. The schemes provide for a consultation process, for objections to be fairly considered and for compensation. The processes put forward by this government will form a solid foundation for continuing growth and employment, particularly in non-urban areas. This is particularly important for Aboriginal Territorians. The sooner these processes can be put in place, the better. The written determinations by the Commonwealth in respect of the schemes cannot be made until they have been fully enacted. It is for that reason I will be seeking urgent passage of the bill. I commend the bill to honourable members. Debate adjourned. ADJOURNMENT Mr BURKE (Brennan): Mr Speaker, the death of Reg Durack has closed a chapter on the pioneering and pastoral developments of the Northern Territory and the nearby Kimberleys. Reg Duracks sisters, Dame Mary Durack, deceased, and Elizabeth Durack are noted Australians for their contribution to literature and to the arts. Reg Durack was bom in Adelaide on 28 January 1911. He was the first child and eldest son of Michael Patrick Durack, who was also the eldest son of Patrick Durack, the central character in his sister Mary Duracks classic family history, Kings in Grass Castles. Reg left the Christian Brothers College, Perth, at the age of 18 and went north to join his father and assist in the running of a chain of properties belonging to the pastoral company, Connor Doherty and Durack, which straddled the West Australian and Northern Territory border. The stations spanned 322 km from east to west and the aggregation of nearly 2.8m ha include the well known Argyle, Ivanhoe, Auvergne and Newry stations, which had been pioneered by the Duracks since their arrival in the Ord River and the Kimberleys in September 1885. Reg had spent his early childhood on Argyle, the head station, now flooded by the damming of the Ord River. He returned to the north in 1929 at the beginning of the Depression. The cattle industry, along with so much else in Australia, was barely surviving. Within a few months of his arrival he was set the task of mustering and destocking the most remote of the companys outstations, Bullita, south of Timber Creek. Today this remains some of the wildest, most inhospitable country in Australia, but also the most picturesque. The task would have daunted the most experienced bushman. The 18 year old, fresh from school, spent one long wet season and most of the following year, mustering wild cattle from its most inaccessible places and shifting them to other properties. Mostly alone, except for one or two trusted and loyal Aboriginal stockmen, his completion of the assignment justified the faith his father had in him. It equipped him for the lonely and arduous work that was to occupy so much of the years to follow. Reg later took over as manager of the vast Auvergne Station, situated on the East Baines River. This run had great potential for breeding and fattening stock destined for the distant Wyndham meatworks. The property was gradually transformed and in the long and lonely droving treks to Wyndham, Reg was greatly helped by a team of loyal and competent black stockmen. To these and to many other Aboriginal stockmen who helped him in the years that followed, he gave full and unreserved credit. He still maintained contact with many of his Aboriginal friends up until the time of his death. Reg had a special rapport with and a sentimental regard for Aboriginal people, often claiming to his family and close associates that he believed he understood and appreciated the workings of the Aboriginal mind better than other white men. There were few of his own race with a deeper love for Northern Australia than he possessed and though he had breaks away from it, time and again, the country drew him back While still a young man, he studied for a medical degree in Sydney and, although this was later never completed, the knowledge he learned was later to be put to good use in treating and sometimes saving the lives of injured workmen. In 1944, he began one of the happiest of unions when he married Enid Tulloch, a Perth city girl with whom he immediately set out for the north by track - a 4 week trek over rough and perilous tracks - to establish a family home at Auvergne. Later in August 1950, on the sale of a company properties to the Peel River Company, he and his then 85-year-old father retained a 1290 km2 block excised from 2832