Calls for better education after sacred Aboriginal cultural sites vandalised on NSW Central Coast An article by Keira Proust on abc.net.au - 'Calls for better education after sacred Aboriginal cultural sites vandalised on NSW Central Coast' - reports that Aboriginal rock carvings sites on Australia's New South Wales Central Coast have been vandalised, where some of the engravings have been scratched and driven over, prompting a call from local Aboriginal people for better community education of the cultural heritage.
Carvings at the Bulgandry Aboriginal Art Site near Kariong were damaged, along with a separate sacred women's site dating back thousands of years, with each telling a unique story about Aboriginal culture and spirituality. Dundullimal Dubba-ga Wiradjuri woman Minmi Gugubarra said the destruction of the ancient rock carvings at the women's site was heartbreaking, stating "The formations and the features of [Dinawan's] face, which have been here since those women who carved this thousands and thousands of years ago, have now been decapitated." Fire remnants also littered the ancient rock face.
Damage was evident as well at the Bulgandry site - within the Brisbane Water National Park - with motorcycle tracks and scratch marks over the rock carvings. The vandalism occurred despite the National Parks and Wildlife Act where it is an offence to "harm or desecrate" an Aboriginal object or place, and where there is a maximum penalty for individuals found guilty of damaging an Aboriginal place of a $550,000 fine or imprisonment for two years, or both.
University of Sydney historian Tristen Jones said vandalism was happening at important cultural sites right across Australia. Two men were recently convicted and fined $8,600 each in an Alice Springs local court for vandalising sacred Uluru cave art. Dr Jones said the ongoing instances of vandalism showed more education was needed. "Vandalism of places like that really represents an under-educated general Australian public on the significance of these places to Aboriginal communities," she said. "But [also] to the broader bigger story of the significance of that story to Australian and global history."
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Photograph: Bulgandry Man, Brisbane Water National Park, NSW, Australia, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.