WHEN my wife and I chose Bathurst as the right place for us to live the rest of our lives, and purchased a property in 2001, it was with the knowledge that the city has a foundation and a history of progress, by virtue of hard work and solid citizenship; a hard-built society with strong moral values.
A prime example is set by local hero Ben Chifley, acknowledged as being the best politician Australia has ever produced, and one that the council profits from, using his home as a mecca for tourists, particularly demonstrating his modest background.
Considering council's obvious commercial pride in using his image, one would think that local politicians would try to model themselves on this man in some way, to emulate his approach to politics, particularly in his attitude of fair play and care for the working man, and to expand this image of Bathurst, a city that rejoices in this image to a great extent.
This can hardly be said to have occurred in relation to our council's approval process for the proposed go-kart track on Wahluu (Mount Panorama, McPhillamy Park) in which neither fairness to the local Wiradyuri Aboriginal community, or the non-Aboriginal residents of Bathurst has been administered.
The process used and the taking away of a large area of a public park, donated to the community by one of those early town citizens, now to be used not by the public as a park, but for a sporting venue of reasonably small significance, is, in my opinion, of breathtaking ignorance.
It is all the more galling when the early history of Bathurst, and the treatment of the traditional owners, the Wiradyuri people, is remembered.
We should all know by now that the Aboriginal population was falsely described as being only hunter-gatherer savages without a society, in order to justify the taking of their lands.
It is a false interpretation still existing in some surprising areas of the present non-Aboriginal population.
In fact, although it may be unpalatable to some, it is an unacceptable racist attitude.
A council representing the community, in promoting and approving the construction of a go-kart track on the Wiradyuri ceremonial lands, especially when, at the same time, officially recognising the Wiradyuri people as the original owners of the land, would seem like a joke to other governing bodies with proper historical values, in other parts of the world, if it were not true.
In reality, in my opinion, it is as unfair as the killing of the Aboriginal family for gathering some potatoes in Kelso in 1824.
A minority sport called go-karting, which will never be of any significant historical significance to Bathurst, installed against aIl the Wiradyuri objections on their ancient ceremonial lands, will be a killing of their and our history in relation to the Mount; gone for good.
Their society and principles, conceived over 50,000 years of occupation before Bathurst was first settled by Europeans, was to share everything in their community (quite different to the principals, if there were any, of the land robbers then and now).
Since coming to live in Bathurst, I have been proud to be a member of the community.
Currently, though, I am ashamed, and will continue to be ashamed of this situation, when a council with a Ben Chifley approach would never have contemplated such actions.
The council involved in approving this process will indeed go down in history and, in my opinion, unlike the Ben Chifley image, will be denigrated for it by future generations.
There could be international consternation and actions, as we have seen with the Rio Tinto debacle, after that company recently destroyed Aboriginal heritage, which may affect our city's image, and commercially, to its detriment.