Swan Valley Nyungah Community upset about ‘significant’ red gum tree at former Lockridge camp site being cut down

Herbert and Swan River People representative Bella Bropho. Picture: Karen Valenti
Herbert and Swan River People representative Bella Bropho. Picture: Karen Valenti

THE Swan Valley Nyungah Community is seeking the perpetrators who cut down a “significant” red gum tree at the locked gates of its former camp site in Lockridge this month.

Members found the tree cut down and stumped at the State-owned Pyrton and Lockridge Reserves on Lord Street during their weekly Monday meeting on January 15.

The City of Swan, Western Power and the WA Planning Commission told the Reporter they had no record of the tree removal.

The tree had been there since the Crown Reserve site was established in 1977 by the late Robert Bropho, who died in jail after being convicted for child sex abuse.

The camp was closed by the State Government in 2003 after an inquest into the suicide of 15-year-old Susan Taylor in 1999.

It is managed by the WAPC, which demolished the buildings that the Bropho family lived in.

Swan Valley Nyungah Community spokeswoman Bella Bropho said it was a “shame” to see the tree, on the boundary of Swan Valley and Lockridge, had been removed.

“We do not know the reason for them to just go ahead without any notification of the tree being taken down,” she said.

“If it is not the Swan shire council…that means somebody can just go there and saw down a tree without any authority.”

Kiara Police acting officer-in-charge Travis Walsh said police were not aware of the removal and would not investigate unless a formal complaint was made.

Sgt Walsh said police often patrolled the site.

A Department of Lands, Planning and Heritage spokeswoman said the site would be transformed into a place of cultural and environmental significance that could be shared by Noongar people and the community as part of the Korndin Kulluch plan.

Ms Bropho said the community wanted the houses to be rebuilt as they wanted their “home ground” back.

The plan is available online at www.finance.wa.gov.au/korndinkulluch

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