But we already had a treaty!

Returning to the Debney Peace

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  • Published 20220428
  • ISBN: 978-1-922212-71-9
  • Extent: 264pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

IN JULY 2019, the Queensland Government launched a series of community consultations as part of its Path to Treaty initiative. The then Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships explained that ‘when Queensland was settled, there was no treaty agreement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first custodians’. ‘First Nations peoples,’ continued the government statement, ‘were displaced from their land without any negotiation, resulting in political, economic and social inequalities that continue to this day.’ On 11 November 2019, one of twenty-four public consultations around the state was held in Birdsville in the Channel Country of south-western Queensland. At the Birdsville meeting to discuss Treaty, Mithaka Elder Betty Gorringe said just one thing from the back of the room: We already had a treaty: the Debney Peace. It’s in Alice’s books.

What was the Debney Peace, when and where was it negotiated, and why is it nationally significant in twenty-first century Australia?

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