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Community Concerns Over Trespassing Signs!
Community members have expressed their concerns over a sign recently erected in what many people thought was National Park at Kariong.
A controversial development proposal by Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council (DLALC) on ecologically and culturally sensitive bushland has been met with sustained opposition from both Indigenous and non Indigenous community members alike.
Local resident Kirt Mallie, a regular visitor to the area said “Our community has been accessing this amazing place for many generations. The Lyre trig lookout is an iconic place where bushwalkers, trail runners, tourists and members of our Indigenous community regularly visit to take in the beautiful ambience of the surrounding untouched bushland. Being of Torres straight Islander descent, I was shocked and confused to find out that an Indigenous organisation have plans to bulldoze the area for a housing development. I thought their organisation was supposed to support the protection of sensitive bushland and cultural heritage.”
Mr Mallie said “Locals were under the impression that the entire area is National Park. If it’s not, it certainly should be. This development would be only a short walk to the famous Kariong Hieroglyphs and the Grandmother tree which is visited by thousands of tourists each year. I read the sign recently saying that the area was registered as an “Aboriginal Place” due to the high volume of cultural heritage that can be found carved on the sandstone. For DLALC to be pushing the destruction of this area is quite shocking to say the least.”
Mr Mallie added “It seems contradictory that they should erect a sign saying “no stealing plants or hunting” when they plan on bulldozing all the trees, Aboriginal engravings and endangered wetlands for a housing development.”
Threatened Species spokeperson for community group, Coast Environmental Alliance (CEA) Jessie Fancett said “This area has been officially listed as an Area of Regional Koala Significance (ARKS) by the State and Federal Government, and is home to other rare and threatened species such as the Pygmy Possum and the extremely rare plant, Darwinia glaucophylla which only grows between Kariong and Calga.”
Ms Fancett added “It’s the only place Darwinia grows in the world.”
Ms Fancett said “CEA accepts that DLALC should have the same rights to attempt to develop bushland as any other developer, but we should equally have the right to stand against unsustainable development that will contribute to the extinction of threatened species and endangered wetlands.”
“Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council are the biggest private land owners on the Central Coast. Considering that DLALC owns other developable parcels of land that will have less impact on the environment and not cause such great division and distress in the community, I hope common sense prevails and they abandon this plan.”
GuriNgai woman and direct Bloodline descendent of Bungaree, Tracey Howie, who joined Ms Fancett said “This area is still visited today by GuriNgai people for ceremony as we have done for 10’s of thousands of years. If the community doesn’t stand up against this violation of our rights and responsibilities as Bloodline descendents, it won’t be long until these signs are popping up at your favourite place in the bush or near the beach.”
“This area was described by the world’s foremost authority on Indigenous rock engravings Jean Clottes as having the “greatest diversity of rock art to be found anywhere in the world.”
“Kariong has been an important meeting place for Aboriginal people for millennia. We are hoping to continue to have the support of the community in protecting what cultural heritage we have left.”
Mrs Howie added “This attempt to destroy this very special part of Kariong Sacred lands will soon be open for the community submissions. The GuriNgai, our neighbours to the West the Darginoong, and to the North, the Awabakal, urge people to write to our State members, Liesl Tesch and Adam Crouch and follow Coast Environmental Alliance on Facebook for regular updates.”
Also See – https://youtu.be/2I3vQuKfdyk