March, 6 2010
Burrup Peninsular
Mags Webster
Writing

I've sketched something in my notebook - a jagged scribble of ink, looking like broken shark teeth. Underneath I've written 'Standing Stones Site - Flying Foam Massacre'.
I've copied out the words from a plaque:

'Hereabouts in February 1868, a party of settlers from Roebourne shot and killed as many as 60 Yapurarra people in response to the killing of a European policeman in Nickol Bay. This incident has become known as the Flying Foam Massacre.'

There is silence apart from birdcall and the distant wheeze of an industrial plant. The standing stones I have sketched are apparently not local granite, some say they may originally have been ballast from ships. The bones from sixty people may still be in this place, in among the rocks.

My notes are fragmented today. Burrup, to me, feels like a fragmented place and it is true that the stones and rocks of its topography lie scattered around us. More than fragmented, it feels fractured, the lineaments of its history and geography broken and scarred.
Barry remarks that the climate of this strange day is a good foil for the previous two days when only the land spoke for the Pilbara, and it romanced us into its spell. We are now being confronted with the human stories, and they are not romantic. He says 'these are the essential condiments for the last two days; the seasoning.'

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