Carnarvon rock art destroyed

Carnarvon rock art destroyed

Ancient rock art at Carnarvon Gorge destroyed after walkway explodes in bushfire

Posted on 10.01.2020

It has been revealed that ancient rock art was destroyed after a recycled-plastic walkway intended to protect the site exploded during a bushfire in Carnarvon National Park.

The incident has prompted an archaeologist working with local Indigenous people to call for the removal of all flammable structures at vulnerable sites around the country.

The destruction at Baloon Cave occurred during 2018’s devastating Queensland bushfires, but has not been spoken about publicly until now to allow the site’s custodians time to come to terms with the loss.

While some of the hand stencils at the cave were ancient, other, more recent prints, had been added over time.

Baloon Cave working group member Dale Harding said the art was part of an ongoing cultural work that provided a link between his Bidjara, Ghungalu and Garingbal ancestors over millennia and their descendants today.

“So what does it mean in the community? It’s the foundation and the basis of who I identify as and who my family, my community — we all connect back to that,” he said.

“My elders describe the rock art panels, but also the whole network, as being a cathedral, a university, a hospital.

Key Points

  • Rock art dating back thousands of years has been lost after a plastic walkway ignites during a bushfire
  • Similar walkways have since been removed across Queensland, with calls for others to go across the country
  • Experts have assessed the site and say it cannot be restored

Alex Easton

ABC News






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