Australian news, and some related international items

Portrait of a nuclear whistleblower

Art exhibition to mark 60th anniversary of nuclear testing in Maralinga asks what has changed ABC Central Victoria  By Larissa Romensky , 22 Sept 16 “….Portrait of a whistleblower

One of the exhibiting artists is Castlemaine’s Jessie Boylan who contributed her portrait of whistleblower Avon Hudson in his “room of archives”, surrounded by objects, newspaper articles, documents, and photos related to Maralinga.

“It’s a portrait of a man who has always stood by his convictions,” Boylan said.

In 1960 Mr Hudson was a 23-year-old RAAF leading aircraftman who arrived at Maralinga after the British had stopped testing the A-bombs and started the “minor trials”, which resulted in the scattering of plutonium, uranium and beryllium across the desert.

“He wasn’t aware of the dangers of working on that site and then it wasn’t until later on that he realised all of his mates where dying in their 20s,” Boylan said.

This prompted his disclosure to the media of what he had witnessed, and ultimately providing testimony to the royal commission into British nuclear testing in Australia.

“His life has been dedicated to advocating for nuclear veterans as well as the Anangu people of Maralinga, and becoming an advocate and activist about nuclear issues in Australia,” Boylan said.

Nuclear issue still relevant today

Mr Mittman hoped the exhibition would bring this chapter of Australian history to the attention of the Australian public and remind them that the nuclear issue was still relevant today.

“The country to a large degree is still contaminated; the traditional owners, even though they have been handed back the land, cannot live there,” he said.

“I mean you can pass through there but for generations to come this country has been damaged.”

He said the Australian story was not an isolated story and referenced nuclear testing around the world including Nevada, French testing in the South Pacific, and Russian testing in Kazakhstan to name a few.

With the current discussion around whether South Australia should build a high-level nuclear waste dump he said “the past is very much on people’s minds”.

“The nuclear threat still hasn’t gone away with the end of the Cold War; in fact experts say the situation is more precarious now than it ever has been before,” Mr Mittman said.

Black Mist, Burnt Country opens on September 24 at the National Trust SH Ervin Gallery, NSW and will tour nationally.

September 23, 2016 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, culture

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