Multicultural Australia, Where The Bloody Hell Are You?
"How come we're not included? What's wrong with our stories?" asked Darumbal man Trent White after Rockhampton's tourism ad "whitewashed" its Indigenous culture.
A tourism ad has been pulled almost immediately after it went live amid claims it whitewashed the very area it was trying to promote.
The Rockhamption Regional Council has apologised for its tourism ad that overlooked the region's strong Darumbal heritage.
"We should not be promoting the Rockhamption Region without celebrating the Darumbal people, the area's long history, and our diverse community," it said on Twitter. "We apologise and we will do better."
The ad showed a largely white cast of people engaging in 'lifestyle' activities such as eating, drinking and exercising. Perhaps most on the nose was the tagline "faces make places", spoken against a backdrop of white, smiling faces.
"What a whitewash!" said writer and Darumbal woman Amy McQuire on Twitter, shortly after the campaign went live on social media.
"When 60,000 years of existence means nothing," tweeted Wiimpitja man Paul Dutton.
Darumbal man Trent White, who's been working to promote Rockhampton and its strong Indigenous culture, told ten daily that he wasn't outraged, but simply wondered what happened in this instance.
"As a Darumbal man, when you're talking about country -- that's been in our culture since day one," he said.
"We always talk about country, we love talking about country. It's been passed on for generation after generation after generation, and it's our responsibility to talk about country.
"So when a tourism ad comes up like that, and they're talking about the river and that... I wouldn't say I was offended, but [it was like], how come we're not included? What's wrong with our stories?"
He said that Darumbal country is special not just to Darumbal people, but to anyone who comes here.
"The uniqueness is that we're still here, and that we still practice culture. We still do ceremony. We still do a lot of things here on country."
He's hopeful, too, that this tourism ad will be a positive thing because it's opened up a conversation.
"It's about letting people know that there are Darumbal people out there that are speaking about tourism and trying to get something going," he said.
"It's not just kind of sitting back and whinging that we're not included. There's people like myself that are out there working hard, trying to get something going."
Rockhampton mayor Margaret Strelow took responsibility for the ad, telling the ABC that she'd also received an email from a "very dear friend of Asian descent" who also didn't feel like the ad represented the diversity of the region.
However, a few hours later, and she'd changed her tune, taking to Facebook to hit back at the negative coverage.
"Enter a gaggle of ambitious journalists spearheaded by the ABC and the story was pushed to become national news," she wrote on Facebook."
"The irony of course is that it was never 'all white'.
"The opening shot is of a proud Darumbal woman rowing on the river. The treetop canopy shot on Mount Archer has a young woman who is clearly of Asian descent, and there is a proud Greek Australian too."