The black granite sought by KGH is found within an area with layers of significance for Gija traditional owners in connection to two key Ngarranggarni (Dreaming) stories for Gija people; Garnkiny, the Moon Man and Goorlabal the Snake. As well as Dreaming sites and tracks there are places of familial and cultural importance dotted all over the area.

Garnkiny is what Rusty Peters describes as 'a big story'. He means both that it covers a vast area of his country and that it concerns the most serious tenets of Gija law. The story is about a man who fell in love with a woman who was his mother-in-law within Gija kinship. When the elders refused to allow him his love, he cursed them and condemned humankind to mortality. This man comes back as the new moon every month, but we die and our bodies return to the earth. His love became the black headed snake and the stars are his promised wives. The story carries meanings about the most primary aspects of human experience and Gija law; death and mortality, love and desire, kinship and obligation.  It is because of its significance to this story that the site was listed under the Aboriginal Heritage Act. Goorlabal the serpent is also a powerful Dreaming figure and holder of Law for all Gija people. The black granite removed by KGH is part of her tail. Her gargantuan body lies as stone stretching across a large expanse of country, part of which is within the area destroyed by the recent explosions and extractions.

As well as Ngarranggarni stories, this part of their country holds familial significance for Mabel Juli and Rusty Peters and other traditional owners.  Close to the destroyed site are their family's burial places and sites of memory that have already been disturbed and any further mining or exploration in the area would be unacceptable, distressing and dangerous.


The sites and stories are painted by Warmun Art Centre's most senior artists including Mabel Juli and Rusty Peters and younger painters such as Mabel's daughter Marlene Juli.

text by Anna Crane



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Hear directly from Gija people in this video made by the Kimberley Land Council
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Hear more about the Garnkiny story here





Post Mabel Juli and Rusty Peters paintings with the hashtag #garnkinynotgranite, tag art institutions that hold their work, and share your personal thoughts on the matter.


There are a number of politicians who need to hear from you that past and future mining in these sites is unacceptable. Even very short personal letters both email and paper, are far more powerful than petitions or form letters. They attract more attention from decision makers and take up more of their time and resources. So here are some tips to individualise:

  • Share your personal feelings and objections and the reasons, perhaps from the work you do or knowledge you have of the issue or just from the info on this site or in the media links.

  • Include any experience you have of knowing or working with the particular traditional owners, other Gija people or seeing this country.

  • INCLUDE YOUR FULL NAME, POSTAL ADDRESS, PHONE NUMBER AND EMAIL ADDRESS in the body of the letter. If this information is there, they are required to respond. This takes them more time and makes them spend more energy on the issue.

General points:
  • Kimberley Granite Holdings have carried out granite mining exploration in breach of the Aboriginal Heritage Act.

  • This took place without the knowledge or consent of key senior Gija traditional owners.

  • The damage and the proposed mine area takes in sacred Dreaming sites, burial places and other sites of immense social and personal significance.

  • KGH must be held to account by government via prosecution for violation of the Heritage Act and the termination of their mining lease.

  • KGH have forfeited their right to continue operations.

Click this link to write to Premier Mark McGowan.
  • The McGowan Government is sending out contradictory messages. On the one hand, the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs has registered the site as significant and denied consent for it to be disturbed. On the other, the Minister of Mining, may approve the mine that would extract many thousands of tonnes of material over a longer period.

  • The McGowan Government should clearly tell the Gija traditional owners whether his government will prioritise mining or their heritage and whether he plans to save their most sacred places.

  • He should put pressure on his ministers to:

    • prosecute for breaches by Kimberley Granite Holdings so far

    • terminate their lease application

    • ensure that the new Aboriginal Heritage Act will provide Native Title Holders with the legal rights to veto and prosecute for breaches of the act.

Click this link to write to Bill Johnston, WA Minister for Mines and Petroleum; Energy; Industrial Relations demanding that:

  • The mine is not in the public interest, as Kimberley Granite Holdings have already acted illegally and caused great distress to Gija people and permanent damage to their sites.

  • Therefore he should use his powers to terminate the mining lease application under Section 111a of the Mining Act.

  • It is contradictory that Minister Wyatt has registered the site as significant and denied applications for its damage while Mr. Johnston prepares to approve a mine that would extract many thousands of tonnes of material over a longer period.

Click this link to write to Ben Wyatt, WA Minister for Aboriginal Affairs demanding that:

In his capacity as Minister, Mr Wyatt must:

  • Accelerate and complete his investigation of KGH's activities on Gija country. 

  • Pursue a legal prosecution of Kimberley Granite Holdings for their breach of Section 18(2) and for destruction of the Gija site.






Garnkiny not Granite has been produced by a group of concerned individuals from across Australia.


We are friends and colleagues of Rusty Peters, Mabel Juli, Eileen Bray and the Gija mob.

We are angered and saddened by what has taken place. Both in terms of the uniqueness of this particular situation and because of how commonplace it is.

email: garnkinynotgranite (at) gmail (dot) com

instagram: @garnkinynotgranite

facebook: Garnkiny not Granite

image credits

1. Mabel Juli, Garnkiny doo Wardel Ngarranggarni (Moon and Star Dreaming), courtesy Warmun Art Centre

2. A picture of the site taken on 11 June 2020, photo by Matt Deakin - From Miles Away.

3. Rusty Peters, Rocky River Country - Darrajayin (2019), courtesy Warmun Art Centre

4. Mabel Juli, Ralph Juli and Rusty Peters photo by Thom Rigney

5. Mabel Juli and Rusty Peters with their work at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, 2019

6. Mabel Juli paints at Warmun Art Centre.