Aurukun pastor says beer trucks introduced darkest decade in the history of Aurukun

[Herbert Yunkaporta, a local pastor at Aurukun, Queensland.]

In 1985, the Queensland government forced the imposition of a wet canteen at Aurukun against the vehement objection of elders.

Within a decade, homicides, non-existent at Aurukun during much of the mission era, had risen exponentially, and suicides were not far behind.

He vividly remembers โ€ฆ the day that alcohol came to Aurukun [1985].

โ€œThe memory is so clear to me,โ€ Herbert says.

โ€œWe were walking down to the river to have a swim, and we saw these trucks come in laden with pallets of beer stacked up. We just stood there in silence, in amazement, just speechless.โ€

The wet canteen adjoined the park and was surrounded by a fence, but it didn’t stop young people breaking the rules.

โ€œI remember seeing a boy who was my age actually put a hole through a fence and suck on a beer from a jug,โ€ Herbert says.

โ€œThis is where I believe that Aurukun started nosediving down. That next decade alone was the darkest decade in the history of Aurukun.โ€

Natasha Robinson, โ€œโ€˜Aurukun needs to be awakened’: Local pastor hopes town at ‘turning point’ after difficult pastโ€, ABC News, 27 May 2016

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