• Aunty Ivy Booth was seven when she was forced to walk from Taroom to Woorabinda. Ninety years on, the next generation has re-enacted the walk to pay respect. (Supplied)Source: Supplied
The Darumbul community has re-enacted an eight-day trek from Taroom to Woorabinda in a show of respect to their ancestors during NAIDOC Week.
NITV Staff Writer

8 Jul 2016 - 10:55 AM  UPDATED 8 Jul 2016 - 10:55 AM

Eighty-nine years ago, hundreds of Aboriginal families were forced out of their homes to make way for a dam that was never built.

Escorted by Queensland Police and Welfare Board officials, most were forced to walk - many barefooted - more than 200 kilometres from Taroom to a new settlement at Woorabinda.

Many died on a trek that took eight days and many hearts were broken. More than 50 tribes, speaking different languages and with different cultures were crowded together in harsh conditions in the new settlement.

Their names are today inscribed on a large wall at Woorabinda.

In remembrance of their suffering and endurance, the Darumbul community has re-enacted the trek to coincide with NAIDOC week, describing it as “yesterday‘s dreaming - today’s healing, to walk, remember and pay our deepest respect”.

Some 50 people retraced their forbears’ steps between the two settlements this year and they arrived at Woorabinda at the weekend, where they were met by Aunty Ivy Booth, 97, who made the original trek at the age of seven.

'It’s hard to describe retracing steps and reliving history and meeting the last survivor.'

Annette Dudley, a community worker who joined the walkers - who ranged in age between four and 70 - as they entered Woorabinda, said: “It was really emotional when we were met by Aunty Ivy at the crossroads.

“It’s hard to describe retracing steps and reliving history and meeting the last survivor. We walked to the cemetery and had a minute's silence in a healing circle before the Corroboree.”

The event was organised by one of Ms Dudley’s colleagues, youth worker Leslie Purcell.

“We asked ancestors of the original walkers to be part of it to help connect our youth with what happened back then. You know it was winter when they walked, many barefoot. Today their ancestors are all over the country.”

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NITV will be keeping you up-to-date with what's happening around the country during NAIDOC Week. Check in throughout the day for the latest news, photos, videos and info.