MILLMERRAN MINES PROJECT
In early 2000, Cultural Heritage monitors were commissioned to undertake extensive fieldwork to collect and record any artifacts found on the the Commodore open-pit coal mine and the Millmerran Power Station site. Located around six kms from Millmerran in Domville and Clontarf, the mine and power station only take up a small portion of the 9,115 hectares of land surrounding the two operations and what is not used is utilised as a buffer zone that separates the mine and power generating plant from its neighbours.
Traditional Owner Monitors
Three Traditional owner groups were involved in the Millmerran Power Project.
Kambuwal: The Kambuwal traditional owners once roamed a vast area from Inglewood in the west, to Bonshaw in the south, Millmerran in the north and eastwards to the slopes of the Great Dividing Range. The Kambuwal elders who have been involved in the Millmerran Project were once kept at the Texas Aboriginal reserve.
Gambuwal: Traditional boundaries of the Gambuwal people run south from Millmerran to Wallangarra and west to Stanthorpe. The Gambuwal population fell dramatically after the introduction of the Aboriginal Protection and Restriction on the Sale of Opium Act. Some of the Gambuwal elders that worked on the Millmerran Power Project were misplaced from family and placed on Taroom reserve.
Western Wakka, Wakka: Western Wakka Wakka traditional owners were involved with work on the pipeline in the area north of the Condamine River through Toowoomba.
Under the Cultural Record (Landscapes, Queensland and Queensland Estate) Act 1987 it is an offence to “take, destroy, damage, deface, excavate, expose, conceal or interfere” with Queensland Estate unless express Government approval is given. All Cultural Heritage fieldwork investigation for the Millmerran project was carried out under “survey” and “collection” permits issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
During earth disturbance activities for the Millmerran Power Project traditional owners were engaged to monitor for sub-surface Cultural material. All monitoring was conducted under a Cultural Heritage Management Plan (CHMP) which outlined how the contractors were to work in areas classified as high, medium and low cultural heritage sensitivity.
An intensive protocol for collection and recording artefacts was established, utilising labeled collection bags, grid maps and a Global Positioning System (GPS). Cultural Heritage monitors were issued log books and required to provide detailed information of artefacts found, including a description of the environment, type of artefact with illustrations, the material used and the uses for that artefact. This artefact collection method enables the relocation of each artefact to within 5 metres of where it was originally found.