"In the Hereber River Valley the Nywaigi, Warrgamay and Bandjin Aboriginal people maintained a delicate balance with their environment. The clearing of land for timber, cattle grazing and the growing of crops meant that their natural habitats and hunting grounds were taken from them with devastating effects on the native plants and animals. From then on they were forced to live on the margins of society and economic activity. However, thy were not without a few protectors like James Cassady, the owner of the Mungalla Station at the heartland of Nywaigi lands. He wrote of the terrible situation as he saw it:
In this portion of the Kennedy, the white man up to the present has had little cause to complain, but it is not so with the black; for the last twelve months, both men and women have been disappearing one by one, and sometimes in large numbers, by the aid of powder and ball. And what is the crime? It may be taking a few sweet potatoes or a few cobs of corn.
Today I hear of the massacre of four blacks, amongst them a woman, a boy of about eight years old, and a girl of about twelve years of age. "- From the sign.
"During World War II many women of cane farms were obliged to do the farm work and cane cutting as their Italian husbands had been sent to internment camps, their sons were serving with the Australian Army overseas and seasonal cane cutters were in short supply.
Italy entered WWII in 1940, and at this time Australian began a program of the internment of "enemy aliens", even though many have been naturalised citizens. In 1942, with the fear of the Japanese invasion, there was another round of internments and many tractors were confiscated from farms. Italian men kept their suitcases packed, as they could be taken away at any time. they were sent to camps in NSW and South Australia. Many were not able to return home until 1944."- from the sign.
"Our first sugar planters, Maurice Geoffrey O'Connell and William McDowell proved that sugar was not going to be successfully grown in the Herbert River Valley by the hands of Europeans alone. And so that men and women from the islands of Melanesia were brought on recruiting ships to toil on the cane fields of the Herbert River Valley. Originating from Vanuatu, New Caledonia, the Solomon and Louisiades (PNG) island. Many came, not involuntarily, but others were enticed or kidnapped. The word "blackbirding"came to be used for that enticement and kidnapping, and the word 'Kanaka' for these indentured workers themselves."- from the sign.