Images from the Djab Wurrung Embassy, just outside Ararat in Victoria’s south west.
The protest camp and embassy was set up by Djab Wurrung man, D.T. Zellanach and partner Amanda 12 months ago to protect ancient birthing and other sacred trees which Vic Roads want to bulldoze to make way for the expansion of the Great Western Highway.
Last month, a large police presence was told to stand down in lieu of an application to the Federal court to appeal the decision of the Federal Environment minister to reject a heritage order protecting the trees, some of which are estimated to be more than 800 years old. In total, around 260 trees are earmarked for destruction. The trees are culturally significant to the Djab Wurrung people.
The Embassy is seeking assistance of all kinds to support their cause, including an online petition and help on site stationing at the Embassy.
Update, July 2019: In breaking news, as the decision of the Federal Court is about to be released, founder of the Embassy, D.T. Zellanach has just been arrested and removed from the Embassy. He is currently in lock-up in Melbourne and has been refused bail. Protesters are camped outside the lock-up demanding his release.
Update, 22nd of August 2019: The Federal Court did not uphold the appeal to place a heritage order on the trees. As a result, Vic Roads placed an eviction order on the campsites. Police and workers are on the cusp of moving in to clear the camp, fell the trees and begin roadworks. In the last days, more than 200 people have travelled to the Embassy to protect the site. D.T. Zellanach has called on more supporters to gather at the Embassy. Stay tuned for more news from this frontline.
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