Jagera people angry after sacred fire extinguished

Sovereign Embassy Fire Extinguished 3

Jagera Elder Kevin Vieritz with the reignited Fire at Musgrave Park South Brisbane this morning. Photo: Kimberley McCosker

AMY MITCHELL-WHITTINGTON

Jagera Elders and community leaders are angry over the extinguishing of their sacred fire in Musgrave Park this morning.

Elder Kevin Vieritz said he is angry the fire has stirred up emotions unnecessarily.

“I’m angry that some people could be so belligerent,” Mr Vieritz said.

The sacred fire has burnt every Wednesday since 2010 and is a symbol to the Indigenous community of the struggles they have faced for the past 42 years.

Mr Vieritz said the fire was a reminder of the past and a symbol of their people’s identity.

“The fire was used to cleanse and reshape not only the landscape but also thoughts and ideas,” Mr Vieritz said.

Sovereign Embassy Fire Extinguished 1

Photo: Kimberley McCosker

“It’s part of our life, it’s part of our culture,”  he said.

“A part from the Woomera, the fire is our greatest invention.”

Mr Vieritz said he went to get breakfast when the fire brigade came to extinguish the fire following complaints from West End residents.

“They got a complaint the fire was unattended, so they put it out,” he said.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) received a call at 6:28 am and the matter is being investigated by QFES.

Police said the actions of QFES were an aberration and they have advised QFES must engage police before taking action in the future so they can be accompanied to the location.

 

The sacred fire has been previously extinguished when Brisbane City Council dismantled the Musgrave Park tent embassy last year.

*Updated 1.11pm 

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