Today there are few people who have not heard of James Hardie. His name is forever linked with the word asbestos and the now well-known and dreaded word, Mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is an asbestos related cancer for which there is no cure and Australia has the highest per capita rate of mesothelioma in the world.
According to Professor Douglas Henderson of Flinders University, an international expert in asbestos disease, up to 39,000 Australians will be either dead or dying of asbestos-caused cancers by the year 2020.
Amongst them the aboriginal people of Baryulgil who also fell victim to James Hardie asbestos. Although the asbestos mine at Baryulgil closed in 1979 the effects of decades of asbestos exposure, such as cancerous tumours and other ailments, are still seen today.