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Sacred Fire at Lake Cowal

November 16, 2002


Wiradjuri Elder, Neville "Chappy" Williams brought an offspring of the Sacred Fire from Canberra Tent Embassy to Lake Cowal on November 16, 2002. Several days later the NSW Rural Fire Brigade attempted to put the fire out for reasons of a total fire ban in New South Wales, however, Mr. Williams defended his right to keep the sacred fire burning to perform religious ceremonies under Section 116 of the Australian Constitution, Freedom of Religion. The fire was returned to Canberra Tent Embassy.



A broken artefact was located on the path of the drilling rigs. Neville Williams has charged Barrick Gold with the destruction and damaging of Aboriginal arefacts without necessary permits from National Parks and Wildlife Association. The court case is onging in the Land and Environment Court.

See for media releases on this matter.

Chappy and Benny Zable protest Barrick's destruction of Aboriginal sacred land, artefacts and scar trees.
Neville "Chappy" Williams


Neville Williams with drilling rig in the background. If the mine were to go ahead, drill holes would go as deep as 750 metres through 3 levels of aquifer in the Lake bed.

"Aboriginal people been here for many many thousands of years, from the first sunrise in fact. Aboriginal Sovereignty has never been ceded. We have never given up and we will never let go. We are a part of this land. It is our duty to stand up for Lake Cowal."

- Neville Williams -