A Perth Aboriginal Elder Albert Corunna and other local Nyoongar Elders fear for the destruction of a cultural heritage site complex at Red Hill in the Darling Range, north-east of Perth. Global German-based quarrying giant Hanson Construction Materials Pty Ltd has recently lodged a Section 18 application with the Department of Indigenous Affairs to seek approval to destroy the sites.
by Albert Corunna
The site complex includes archaeological and ethnographic sites, such as the Red Hill campsite, rockshelters, grinding stones, ochre deposits, petroglyphs, ceremonial sites, Susannah Brook and its tributaries and our spiritual Dreaming sites. At the centre of this is the Guardian Ancestral Owl Stone Boyay Gogomat. This is about 20 metres high and is made up of three large balancing stones in the shape of an owl.
This area is also home to rare and significant plants and animals, such as carpet snakes, eagles and chuditch. The water of the brook is the purest water flowing into the Swan River.
In an interview with the West Australian newspaper (Friday October 30, 2009) Mr Albert Corunna called on the Indigenous Affairs Minister Kim Hames to reject the application.
‘We don’t want to take the risk with this ancient stone because it’s so vital to our existence in this world, to our identity, to our Aboriginal culture and we want it there,” Mr Corunna said. “I think it’s in the public interest that this stays because the wider community will also benefit from this.”
The Nyoongar Elders commissioned their own report so as to have the owl stone recorded to protect it from blasting and quarrying activities. Three other reports were also written by independent anthropologists and archaeologists which all testified to the high significance of these sites to Nyoongar people. For the purpose of a Section 18 application to destroy all our sites on their land, Hanson’s employed right wing pro-mining anthropologist Dr Ron Brunton to question the legitimacy of our culture, knowledge and sacred sites. This is the same Dr Ron Brunton who wrote a scathing attack on the important findings of Bringing them home, the report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from their Families. Brunton wrote “Bringing Them Home is one of the most intellectually and morally irresponsible official documents produced in recent years.”
It is vitally important not only for us to save our culture but for all of our heritage landscapes of the past to be protected for all future generations.
For further information please visit: