Gold Coast’s arts workers and supporters have banded together to help buy two blocks of land in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest which will be returned to their Traditional Owners – the Kuku Yalanji people.
Samantha Morris in the Daintree Rainforest
The campaign, led by Blank Street Press and Gold Coast Music Awards director Samantha Morris raised $24,890 which was used by Rainforest 4 Foundation towards the purchase of Lot 157 and Lot 85 in the Daintree. A total of 321 people donated to the appeal.
Samantha Morris said she was overwhelmed with the level of support.
“Once again, the arts community has given generously,” she said. “Despite being hammered by the impacts of COVID, our Gold Coast artists and their supporters have dug deep to make an impact on both conservation and social justice.”
Kelvin Davies, the Founder of Rainforest 4 Foundation, said the money has made a direct contribution to saving the Daintree from the threat of development and will help reverse the impacts of the 1982 subdivision.
"The Daintree Lowland Rainforest has examples of the most primitive plants and animals in the world, representing major stages in the earth’s evolutionary history and our vision is to ensure those processes continue undisrupted.”
“To do that, we need to rewild the Daintree lowlands and ensure the land and ecological systems are managed by their rightful owners – the Kuku Yalanji people.”
“These two blocks of land, which were purchased with the support of Blank Street Press and the Gold Coast arts community, bring our total purchases over the past two years to nine. Now they will be protected forever,” Kelvin said.
But of course, the work doesn’t stop there. Rainforest 4 Foundation has a plan in place to acquire more than 200 properties considered to have exceptional ecological and cultural values and the organisation is working in partnership with the nonprofit organisation HalfCut and the Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation to identify priorities and negotiate their purchase.
The organisations came together at the end of April to celebrate their partnership and formally hand over titles to the first six blocks purchased with donor funds. All of the properties purchase for conservation will be included in the Jabalbin Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation and Land Trust and though an agreement with the Queensland Government is managed as part of the Daintree National Park estate.
“Healing the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people starts with addressing the central issue of land rights and justice for a People who never ceded these rights. Through the building of meaningful personal relationships founded in Culturally appropriate communication, there lies a path of reconciliation and healing,” Kelvin said.
Thank you to everyone who helped Samantha Morris with her fundraising campaign.
We also received wonderful support from Steven Nowakowski Panoscapes with their wonderful photograph and the donation of diaries, calendars, and books as perks for the fundraising.
“We cannot do this work without the help of extraordinary people who share our vision for ecological and social justice,” Kelvin said.
A total of 321 wonderful people donated to the appeal that raised $24,890.