Lobby restaurant ‘reclaimed’, rose gardens next

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The “reclaimed” Lobby restaurant. Photo by Mike Welsh

AN indigenous group calling itself the Landlord Ngunnawal Custodians is occupying and sleeping in the empty, iconic Lobby restaurant in Parkes.

In February it served an “eviction” notice on the National Capital Authority demanding $7,644,000 in rent arrears for the past 49 years – dating from the restaurant’s opening in 1968.  

The February “eviction” notice to the NCA. Photo by Mike Welsh

The demand, signed by 11 people, says the reason for the NCA “eviction” is a failure to “seek permission, seek agreement, sign a treaty or lease the land from the Ngunnawal Original Custodians”.

In an online video Aboriginal elder Uncle Kevin Buzzacott said he saw the takeover as an extension of the existing tent embassy and he also made it clear that the adjacent rose gardens were part of the takeover, too.

He said he was hopeful that the building could re-open as a cafe run by the Embassy that would also offer roses for sale.

He also issued a call for calm from authorities saying they would be at risk of turning the situation into an international incident if they resorted to using force. He also issued a call for all indigenous groups to be on standby should the authorities try to escalate the current situation.

Police have been attendance but have taken a softly-softly approach ahead of a meeting at the Tent Embassy on Wednesday afternoon.


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