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Nuclear testing in our region

We heard it here, loud and clear, and felt the ground shake. We seen the radiation fall out over our camp. It was moving very quietly and very deadly.” – Yami Lester
People were playing with the fallout as it fell from the sky… We put it in our hair as if it was soap or shampoo. But later I lost all my hair from it.” – Rinok Riklon

For many people in Australia and the Pacific, nuclear weapons are not a distant, abstract threat, but a lived reality – a persistent source of pain and suffering, of contamination and dislocation. Indigenous communities, long marginalised and mistreated, bear the brunt of this ongoing scourge.

Over four days in four cities, the Black Mist White Rain Speaking Tour explored the ongoing impacts of nuclear testing in our region and the inspiring triumph of cultural survival. The stories from the front lines are a driving force behind the movement for a nuclear weapons ban, which is gaining momentum worldwide. This page documents the Tour, which travelled from Adelaide to Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane in April 2016.

Read the Black Mist White Rain Media Release

Black Mist White Rain Media Report, April-May 2016


Featured speakers
Sue is a Kokatha-Mula woman living in Ceduna, South Australia. She was born at the Koonibba mission near Maralinga, a site of British nuclear testing. In December 2014 she travelled to Austria to deliver a testimony on the impacts of nuclear testing on Aboriginal land and people to 158 governments at the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons. Her speech focused international attention on the ongoing burden of radioactive contamination carried by her family, and many Aboriginal communities in South Australia. In 2007, Sue won the South Australian premier’s award for excellence in Indigenous leadership for her work as an activist, cultural teacher and environmental defender. Sue will be speaking in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
Abacca was born on Rongelap, an island that will remain uninhabitable for generations due to radioactive contamination caused by nuclear testing conducted in the Pacific. Abacca is a former Senator of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and travelled to Vienna to speak alongside Sue Coleman-Haseldine at the Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons. Abacca continues to raise awareness on the impacts of nuclear testing in the Pacific and is building support for the Marshall Islands lawsuit challenging the nine nuclear-armed countries on their failure to disarm. Abacca will be speaking in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
Rose and her sister Karina are Yankunytjatjara-Anangu women living in Adelaide, having grown up on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands (APY Lands) in the Far North West of South Australia. Their father is Yankunytjatjara elder Yami Lester, who was blinded by the “black mist” fallout created by the nuclear tests at Emu Field in the 1950s. Yami’s advocacy helped bring about the McLelland Royal Commission in 1985, which acknowledged the ongoing radioactive contamination caused by nuclear testing. Rose is passionate about justice for Aboriginal people, and speaks out against the inherent dangers of all aspects of the nuclear industry. Rose will be speaking in Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane.
Karina is passionate about maintaining Aboriginal languages and works as an interpreter and at the University of Adelaide. Karina travelled to Hiroshima in November 2015 to speak at the World Nuclear Victims Forum. She shared her family’s personal story of nuclear victimhood and their inspiring cultural survival. The Lester sisters are speaking out against nuclear expansion in South Australia, the state that experienced the bulk of the nuclear testing programs and which is now faced with a Royal Commission into nuclear expansion, including the importation of international high-level radioactive waste. Karina will be speaking in Adelaide and Melbourne.
Thankyou to the following groups for helping us make the Tour happen:
  • Australian Red Cross
  • Australian Conservation Foundation
  • Pax Christi Victoria
  • Soka Gakkai International
  • Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom: NSW and QLD
  • Conservation Council of South Australia
  • Friends of the Earth Adelaide, Melbourne and Brisbane
  • Anti-Nuclear and Clean Energy Collective
  • Marrickville Peace Group
  • Beyond Nuclear Initiative


Comments are closed.

  • aiweiwei

    “Let’s act up! Ban nuclear weapons completely and unconditionally.”

    Ai Weiwei Artist and activist

  • sheen

    “If Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr were alive today, they would be part of ICAN.”

    Martin Sheen Actor and activist

  • bankimoon

    “I salute ICAN for working with such commitment and creativity.”

    Ban Ki-moon Former UN chief

  • yokoono

    “We can do it together. With your help, our voice will be made still stronger. Imagine peace.”

    Yoko Ono Artist

  • jodywilliams

    “Governments say a nuclear weapons ban is unlikely. Don’t believe it. They said the same about a mine ban treaty.”

    Jody Williams Nobel laureate

  • desmondtutu

    “With your support, we can take ICAN its full distance – all the way to zero nuclear weapons.”

    Desmond Tutu Nobel laureate

  • herbiehancock

    “Because I cannot tolerate these appalling weapons, I whole-heartedly support ICAN.”

    Herbie Hancock Jazz musician

  • dalailama

    “I can imagine a world without nuclear weapons, and I support ICAN.”

    Dalai Lama Nobel laureate