Latest News

Back to Latest News back

 

Traditional owners say heritage is ‘non-negotiable’ in Grampians rock-climbing dispute

Traditional owners say heritage is ‘non-negotiable’ in Grampians rock-climbing dispute
July 2, 2019

Traditional owners in Victoria’s Grampians national park say they are prepared to work with rock climbers to allow the sport to continue, but not at the risk of causing further damage to cultural heritage.

As reported by the Guardian Australia, climbers have been barred from a third of the popular Grampians National Park, an area which climbing groups say contains three-quarters of the best high-quality climbing and bouldering sites, since Parks Victoria began enforcing previously ignored protected areas in March.

Last week, Parks Victoria granted a three-month extension to licensed rock-climbing tour operators to continue taking climbing groups to three designated walls within Summerday Valley provided they meet a strict set of conditions, including completing cultural heritage training and not using climber’s chalk. Any breach could lead to all operators being banned.

The Australian Climbing Association of Victoria, which formed in response to the ban, said the conditions were unworkable and the three-month extension was not long enough to allow operators to get public indemnity insurance or take bookings.

It has accused Parks Victoria of wedging climbers against traditional owners and maintains that climbers are the “natural allies” of Indigenous Australians.

However, the three traditional owner corporations which have ownership of the Grampians - the Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owner Aboriginal Corporation, Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation and Barengi Gadjin Land Council - support the ban and have praised Parks Victoria for responding to their concerns.

Barengi Gadjin Chairman Dylan Clarke said traditional owners had longstanding concerns about damage caused by rock climbing, which can include hammering metal bolts into the rock face and marks left by climbers’ chalk. There are also concerns around the cutting or wearing away of paths through the bush and the destruction of vegetation at the bottom of high traffic cliff faces.

With the Grampians containing 90% of Victoria’s registered rock art sites, areas protected under the climbing ban include rock scatters, quarry sites, songlines and areas of intangible cultural heritage, as well as areas that house significant plants.

Eastern Maar Chairman Jason Mifsud compared the debate to the ban on climbing Uluru, advising that most climbers, once they understood the heritage, were “quite embarrassed, very sympathetic and apologetic”.

Mifsud said if the new monitoring protocols in Summerday Valley proved successful, there could be scope to allow appropriately monitored and authorised climbing activity back in other areas.

He added “the preservation and protection of Aboriginal cultural heritage is non-negotiable.

“We aren’t saying that there’s to be no climbing, what we are saying is that there is to be no further destruction of cultural heritage.”

Australian Climbing Association of Victoria spokesman, Mike Tomkins, said climbers had “been very good stewards” of the park and were keen to see that heritage was not unintentionally damaged.

He advised “we don’t want to go back to these areas even if we can legally until we can have this consultation with traditional owners and make a proper apology for the offence that we have caused, because we are actually mortified that we have caused offence and harm to places that we didn’t know (about).”

However, Tomkins said climbers were angry at Parks Victoria, which he accused of running “a smear campaign” against rock climbing and cutting the climbers out of the process.

Images of Summerday Valley rockclimbing courtesy of Save Grampians Climbing.

Related Articles

28th June 2019 - High Court to determine Aboriginal right to control access to popular camping beaches

27th June 2019 - Rise in visitors to Uluru in advance of climbing ban

28th April 2019 - Dirt Art secures track construction contract for remaining 100 kilometres of Grampians Peaks Trail

19th February 2019 - New strategies developed to protect Pilbara rock art

18th September 2018 - New Parks Victoria Act looks to strengthen park management

7th September 2018 - Victorian first as traditional landowners take on park management

30th August 2018 - Agreement prompts potential World Heritage listing for Burrup Peninsula ancient Aboriginal site

23rd March 2018 - Melbourne centres host Sport Climbing Australia Open Lead and Speed Championships

4th January 2018 - Native title plan to maximise tourism opportunities for Gippsland Aboriginal community

5th July 2017 - Parks Victoria acknowledges work of Indigenous ranger during NAIDOC week

1st April 2016 - Distinguished environmentalist appointed to new Parks Victoria role


Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at www.ausleisure.com.au is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.

 

supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all

The Retention People Australia

TRP help health clubs, leisure centres and gyms across the globe create happy, loyal members through our user-friendly software which enables effective engagement and the delivery exceptional customer…

read more

Fitness / Marketing / Recreation / Technology / Wellness

 
 

HQH FITNESS

HQH Fitness is an international company that specialises in improving the health, fitness and wellness of people everywhere. We are the South Pacific distributors for Total Gym/GRAVITY Education and…

read more

Fitness / Recreation / Technology / Wellness

 
 

Crystal Pools

Crystal Pools has a solid history of performance on a wide variety of government and commercial projects and is the name behind many of Australia’s most innovative and ambitious aquatic…

read more

Aquatics / Design

 
 

Rae-Line

Sports Padding At Rae-Line we manufacture high quality sports padding, gym mats, foam mats and protective padding, suitable for a range of different facilities. Our sports padding is…

read more

Attractions / Fitness / Recreation / Safety / Sport

 
 

Polin Waterparks

Polin was founded in Istanbul in 1976, and has since grown into a leading company in the waterparks industry. Today Polin is one of the world leaders in the design, production, and installation of…

read more

Aquatics / Attractions / Play / Waterparks

 
 

Mattioli

Mattioli provides award winning painting, flooring and waterproofing services to the aquatics and recreation sector. We’re recognised as the leading contractor in the industry with award-winning…

read more

Aquatics / Recreation / Safety

 
 

SKC Operations Pty Ltd (SKCorp)

SKC Operations Pty Ltd (SKCorp) is an expert retail and marketing services team specialising in sports, leisure, aquatics, fitness, health, wellness & recreation industry. Using proven…

read more

Aquatics / Consultants / Fitness / Marketing / Retail

 
 

MYRTHA POOLS

Founded in 1961, Myrtha Pools® quickly became Italy’s première swimming pool company, and has since grown into one of the world's leading swimming pool construction…

read more

Aquatics / Design / Play / Waterparks / Wellness

 
 
 
 

get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business