Scott Foyster


Scott Foyster is the editor of Undergrowth's zine library and roving journalist of Australian activist politics. Scott's political interest refugee rights to climate change issues, logging in Tasmania and indigenous rights in the Northern Territory in the wake of the NT intervention.


WAI June issue


The June issue is out and on the streets around the country. From illegal forest operations in Indonesia and PNG to irragiating the Midlands of Tasmania; from artists run intiatives in old shopfronts in Newcastle to community weekends in Melbourne; from reflections on those fighting against the expansion of the uranium industry in SA and NT to the latest paternalistic Indigenous policy in the NT all this and more can be read in the June issue of Wai. Wai also contains the usual campiagn updates, news section and in this issue the first of an ongoing series about worldwide community projects that are re-empowering peoples lives.

For more information or to help with the next issue of Wai, which is due out in September, you can visit us at www.waiquarterly.wordpress.com or send an email to us at waiquarterly.wordpress.com.

The June issue of Wai can be downloaded at the website as well as here.

june.pdf3.58 MB

Wai > National Independent Newspaper > March issue Out Now


The second issue of the national independent quarterly newspaper, Wai is out on the streets next week.

It covers a range of national issues not seen in the mainstream media; from the visual spectacle of the Florentine Valley, Tasmania to the proposed expansion of BHP Billiton Roxby Downs; the hills of canberra and the demand to end the NT Intervention now to the streets of Mparntwe- Alice Springs and the fight to stop the Angela Pamela Uranium mine; from riding around Victoria for six weeks on an Otesha bike tour teaching school children about climate change and sustainability to guerilla gardens, food forests and grey water systems. The March issue of Wai has it all plus more.

Poetry, news and campaign updates, donations, events calendar and statements from the World Social Forum in Beliem, Brazil and reflections on the climate talks in Poznan last year.

For info about Wai go to waiquartely.wordpress.com. If you would like to contribute to Wai you can email Wai at waiquarterly@gmail.com.

 A free PDF version of the march issue is available for download below. 

Spread the word baby!
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wai-march.pdf3.68 MB

Firesticks > by Scott Foyster




‘Our stories are a firestick. We light the fire, and we pass it to you. You take it to other people, and they pass it on again.’ Ned Hargraves, Yuendumu 1-10-08

The patrol pulls to stop next to the basketball court. The red dust has settled and now we are back amongst the land of bitumen, concrete and metal cladding. A barbie sits next to the basketball court awaiting us once we’ve returned with Frank Baarda from the inaugural ‘Intervention Tour’. A tour that with sun setting and Frank not yet here is going to be short (as it turns out we’ll have to wait until the morning to complete the tour.)

Eventually Frank arrives and the 20 of us climb back into our vehicles forming a convoy behind Frank as he takes us to the Nest, Yuendumu’s nickname for the Government Business Manager’s compound. The compound, which was built in 5 days,[1] consists of three demountables surrounded by a cyclone barbed wire fence. When it was built this fence resulted in the humpy home of a young couple knocked straight to the ground. The couple were living in this humpy with their newborn baby in order to live close to their extended family. When the contractors came this house of a few months was destroyed in a matter of minutes to ensure that Yuendumu got it’s first barbed wire fence and that the Government Business Manager would be protected from the ‘sacred children’.

Unsurprisingly the Government Business Manager is not there. He rarely is. Paid $180 000 a year he spends most of his time back with his family in Perth. When he is in Yuendumu he engages with the community as little as possible.  A fortnight ago when Yuendumu won the footy flag in Alice, Noel did even bother attending the match. 

After the Nest, Frank drives out to the $200 000 cyclone fence that has been built around the new rubbish tip. The tip itself is 5 km from Yuendumu and, like the Nest, comes complete with three rows of barbed wire to keep the ‘dangerous children’ out as Frank jokes – apparently in one Central Australian language the word for ‘sacred’ can also be translated to mean ‘dangerous’.


the 200 000 fence in all it's glory photo alan miles

Here with the lights of the cars shining in his eyes Frank informs us of how the GBM compound came to be known as the nest. A story that goes like this: Frank was chatting with someone in his store who called the GBM ..., which is Warlpiri for egg. An egg sits in a nest being well looked after for doing nothing at all. 

Part 2 of the Intervention tour over, we drive back to the basketball court for the BBQ and community speakout. Ned Hargraves welcomes us in Warlpiri to the community, telling the crowd of kids, community members and ourselves that we are friends of the community who have travelled from around the country to listen and learn.

The night proceeds with a succession of speakers from the community standing up and speaking strongly and loudly against the Intervention.

Christopher Poulson, a former teacher, tells us of “the racial discrimination. There’s one job for you cos you are black and living in the bush.”

Kurt, a whitefella who lives in the community recording the community musicians, informs us that “what the Government is doing with this Intervention is telling Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory that they are useless.” And that “in all my days wandering around this country I have not found Aboriginal people that are useless.”

Francis Kelly tells us “that they should have a high school out in the bush where our people can go to instead of sending them to boarding schools in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide. That bi-lingual education is important and should not be touched [hinting at the diminishing numbers of bilingual education programs in N.T. schools].” He also tells us the difficulty in getting jobs in the community: “Our young people when they come back [from school], they have to start from scratch again. Some people got jobs in the mining others have got nothing.”

Sammy Watson told us that “Community is the main thing with us... other people are trying to take that away... we’ve gotta be strong, yapa people, with our law, our culture... we got stand strongly for our rights... the intervention is hurting us, yapa people... my people in my community, Yuendumu. The intervention is killing us.”

The evening ends with a rousing speech from Ned Hargraves in which he tells us all that “Yuendumu don’t want the Invasion. It’s doing us no good. It should go.”

The next morning the third part of the Intervention Tour is completed. Our guide for is the Yuendumu’s former domestic violence worker[2], the first community domestic violence worker in all of Central Australia. From the basketball court she points out the Men’s Shelter. It looks exactly as Frank described it: a miniature Guantanamo Bay. Two shipping containers with a padlocked barb wire fence. A prison built right next to the football oval in the centre of Yuendumu. Since it’s been built there has been one meeting in it and that is all. No workshops, no programs, no men staying the night. Little wonder its in public view, the door is locked and all it brings to mind is shame.

 mens shelter at yuendumu photo alan miles

The frustrating thing is that the community has been asking for a men’s centre for years, and because of the Governments failure to consult this complex won’t be used, and the need for a men’s centre will remain. The police themselves commented upon seeing the ‘men’s shelter’ that if someone is staying in there they should be staying in the prison cells. The fact that the men in the community, including the man who runs the community night patrol, breaking up arguments before they escalate into anything else, were not consulted about the best location for the centre is reveals the Government’s attitude to community “development”.

To top it all off, these same men’s shelters, have been built in 20 communities throughout the Territory. I’d hazard a guess but you can bet that they are probably not being used in any other communities either.

With the Intervention tour over we wander off to check out other parts of the community. Some of us visit the clinic, others take a visit to the Outback Store[3], others visit Warlpiri media centre- the first community TV station in all of Australia. A group of us head up to Warlukurangu Arts and where some artists are at work and the office staff are filling out orders. With all the art there and all the stories of carpet bagging it’s good to hear that all the money from the sales of the art goes back into the community.

Another group visit Mt Theo, a program set up by the community to deal with substance abuse problems amongst the kids. Part of their program involves a mechanics workshop where the youth of Yuendumu work on cars and buses learning how they work, as well as other youth development, training and mentoring programs. It’s a successful program reducing petrol sniffing in the community to next to nothing.  Visitors were shown a detailed plan for a bi-lingual culturally appropriate school program for high school kids, written in 1989 but not yet adopted. A town of 800, Yuendumu only has school classes to year 10 so those who want to continue on with higher education have to board in Alice, Darwin, Adelaide, Melbourne. There is apparently a plan by a NGO to build one Walpiri bi-lingual high school for Warlpiri students in Willowra, Lajamanu, Papunya, and Yuendumu, an area of some 2000, servicing around 1500-2000 people.

After the arts centre we head back to the basketball court and vehicles, heading back to Mpartnwe - Alice Springs with the knowledge that Yuendumu is a strong community, resisting the Intervention every step of the way. A community that sees the Intervention as having brought nothing to it but frustration and anger. A community that knows what it’s capable of, and with some genuine collaboration and consultation could offer amazing opportunities for community growth.  It’s a shame the Government doesn’t see it that way. It’s a shame the only approach the Government has is paternalism.

[1] Yuendumu itself has seen no new houses for the community in the 15 months of the Intervention this in spite of the fact that house in the community are overcrowded and housing is supposedly a bi-partisian programme to close the gap. In fact like with other communities in the NT, Yuendumu will only get new houses if they sign a lease with the Government. No lease, no new houses, and only 20 new houses at that.

[2] She went on maternity leave in March. Since then there has been no worker in spite of the fact that there is funding for the position until mid 2011. The first worker replaced was given a home with a leaky roof, a window that didn’t shut and was located in the CDEP compound, a compound that is locked each night. She did not feel safe and so left. Since then a house has been built (six months after the former worker told FACHSIA that she would be going on Maternity leave in March) and people interviewed but as of yet no one hired. Since then people have stopped reporting assaults having lost faith in the program and the Government commitments to it.

[3] Outback Stores is an initiative set up in 2006 by the Indigenous Business Council. They state on their websites FAQ that Outback store is not compulsory for communities to sign up to however the only community stores that will receive funding in the future are Outback Stores. With the Intervention, the Outback Stores are the stores with the computer systems needed to implement the ‘basics card’ system.

Climate Camp

Roll up, roll up. Unpack your swag, pitch a tent and join the chorus of protest in Newcastle this July. Following on from the UK Climate Camp last year Australia's first Climate Camp is being held in Newcastle from the 10th-15th July. Packed full of plenary, workshops, discussions and direct action ratbaggery the camp is a protest at the continual destruction the Coal Industry is having both in this country and world wide.

With Newcastle port slowly becoming the largest Coal Port in the world, and the Government showing their intention clear with the new investment in coal and cancellation of the solar rebate, this Camp is the chance to show the Governments of Australia that coal is not the right choice. Not for this country. Not for no country.

Time to demand that their are more viable options out there and that if we as a nation follow the suit of others countries like Denmark or Germany with wind, or like Cuba with solar we as a nation, or decentralised energy like the UK Australia could be at the forefront of the world wide energy transformation. That our record has highest energy-consumption, highest water-consumption, high car owner society, high mineral exporter could be transformed.

So come one come all to Newcastle this July and learn to shout it out on the streets and at the port. Check out www.climatecamp.org.au for more details.

Sorry About The NT Intervention? > downloadable ebook

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"Sorry About The NT Intervention?" is a newspaper of speeches from Northern Territory town campers on the affect the Intervention is having on their communities. 

It shows the sorrow, anger, disgust and hope that was heard at the convergence in Canberra on the 11th and 12th February 2008.

It highlights the Second Invasion that is happening in many communities in the Territory and is being printed to ensure that these voices are heard. That the truth of the situation is shown and that the Intervention is seen as the poorly managed racist action it is.

In publishing these voices largely un edited we are helping to spread the knowledge of this country.

Hopefully, with enough voices heard, those in the territory can live a life free from the ration card system.

And please come out on the streets on 12pm Saturday 21st of June at the State Library of Melbourne to voice your disgust at the racist intervention.


Scott Foyster



The document is available here for free download below.

sorryntcomplete.pdf6.1 MB

The Election Bugle




Hitting MX stands around Melbourne and Sydney in the lead up to the  Australian national election on Saturday 24th November  - The Election Bugle is an eight page paper put together by a crew of Melbourne artists and activists. The Bugle content is spread across three topics, The Environment ( pulp mill, nuclear energy and clean coal), The Government Intervention into Aboriginal Communities in the NT and Refugee Rights, including alarming news about the new processing centre on Christmas Island. 

 The Election Bugle can be downloaded here, or if you're lucky you can pick up one of the 3000 copies at a train station or left on a tram or train somewhere.

Download a pdf of The Election Bugle here:

Theelectionbugle1210.pdf1.36 MB

Ngapartji Ngapartji







Ngapartji Ngapartji

I give you something you, you give me something.

Wai, That's hello in Pitjantjatjara. Uwa, That's give me in Pitjantjatjara.

Ngapartji Ngapartji, I give you something, you give me something, is a community arts production run out of Alice Springs. A project of big Hart it features members from across the central desert regions from Docker River to the West of Alice to Pukatja (Ernabella) in South Australia. All of whom have worked together to develop and preformed a stage production.

This stage production first premiered at the 2006 Melbourne International arts Festival. The play itself is set in Spinifex country and is about a families displacement following the arrival and testing of the H-bomb by the British at Marlinga in the 1950's. The play is performed in both Pitjantjatjara and English with the suidences involved in learning some of the song and dances performed on stage.

Coinciding with the premiere a Pitjantjatjara language groups was formed in Melbourne and Sydney. From the groups online course has been developed. This course takes the form of video lessons scripted and filmed by the communities.The films them,selves are filmed in language with or without english subtitles. Scripts with translation can also be read on line. Some early lessons can be viewed at www.ninti.ngapartji.org. More about Ngapartji Ngapartji can be found at www.ngapartji.org.



woozy 4


Woozy was a zine put together by Iain McIntyre. Existent throughout the 90's it lasted for 20 issues and offers a snapshot on the punk, underground, political scene of that area travelling from the grunge heyday of the eraly 90's to the later 90's explosion into the cyberworld and the connotations of that. Woozy 4 is from 1992 and offers a snapshot into the heady heart of the grunge era Australia. 60 odd pages of stories, cartoons all written in layed out in block print and printed. The selection below is off a few of those pages. The zine itself was sourced from Octapod in Newcastle. Iain can be contacted at

woozy4.pdf458.97 KB


Pure evil 6, 2001, the silent army/braddock coaltion

Produced in 2001 Pure Evil 6 was the last of the pure evil compilation zines. Featuring a cover sleeve, which the above image is the front of, pure evil 6 was 1.. page zine of comic artists throughout Australia. The follwing feature samples include Bug by Nikki Greenberg, by Mandy Ord and short pieces by Tim Danko, Peter Saveri, Lachlan Conn, Sam Green and  amongst other luminaties of the Australian (and New Zealand) Comic underground. 

cerebral acrobatics 5


Cerebral Acrobatics Issue Five, pt 2, 2004, Chay-ya clancy


Cerebral Acrobatics was a collaborative zine put compiled, edited and layed out by Chay-ya Clancy. Issue 5 was a two parter, one of drawings, the other, of which this is selection from, of photographs and writing. Compiled in the Darwin heat and supported by a grant by the Northern Territory Arts Council the issue contains artwork by Chay ya Clancy, Alice O'brien, Tim Parish, Mel Stringer and others. The zine itself is sold out although Chay ya's current work can be found at www.chayyaclancy.blogspot.com.