Subscribe

Vandals Graffiti Rock Face in Kakadu, Rock art at Uluru

AAP Created: April 14, 2009 Last Updated: November 30, -0001
Related articles: Australia » National
Print E-mail to a friend Give feedback

The arkose massif of Uluru (Ayers Rock), the second largest monolith on Earth after Mt Augustus in Western Australia, has profound cultural significance for the local Pitjantjatjara and Yankuntjatjara Aborigines.  (Torsten Blackwood/AFP/Getty Images)

The arkose massif of Uluru (Ayers Rock), the second largest monolith on Earth after Mt Augustus in Western Australia, has profound cultural significance for the local Pitjantjatjara and Yankuntjatjara Aborigines. (Torsten Blackwood/AFP/Getty Images)

DARWIN—Vandals have defaced sacred Aboriginal sites, including rock art at Uluru and rock faces in Kakadu, in the last few months.

Two rock faces in the heritage-listed Kakadu National Park were graffitied in the last seven days, along with a toilet block.

Shannon Murray, from the Kakadu visitor services team, said no rock art in the park -- which is among the oldest in the world -- had been impacted.

"There have been three incidents of graffiti in the past week -- I'm glad to say none of it defaces the rock art," she said.

But vandals made two separate rock scratchings of graffiti on Ubirr lookout, one of the most revered sites in the park.

Texta was also graffitied in the toilets at the car park to the lookout.

"If you've visited Ubirr, you know that you walk through the galleries looking at rock art which is tens of thousands of years old," Ms Murray said.

"Then you climb steeply for 80 to 100 metres up the rocks to a rock platform with a spectacular view over the Magela floodplain.

"Here someone, or several people, have scratched out their own graffiti on the rock floor."

A spokeswoman for Parks Australia was unable to confirm reports that traditional owners were furious about the vandalism.

"It's happened about 30 metres away from the rock art," she said.

But Ms Murray said local Aborigines expected visitors to treat their land with respect.

"They are always distressed when anyone defaces their country," she said.

"They ask everyone to respect not only the rock art, but all of Kakadu's natural and built environment."

In a separate incident earlier this year, vandals also damaged rock art at Uluru in central Australia, causing thousands of dollars worth of repairs.

"There was a nasty defacing of rock art at Uluru at Mutitjulu waterhole some months ago," Ms Murray said.

"The area has had to be fenced off for repair -- something that neither the traditional owners nor the tour operators were happy about."

Traditional owners asked for a professional restorer to make repairs to the art, which costed several thousand dollars, Ms Murray said.

People who deface any surface in a commonwealth park -- be it a rock face or toilet wall -- face fines of up to $2,500.

Damaging heritage rock art warrants fines of up to $110,000 or two years imprisonment.

"It is art to be cherished -- and in fact the entire area is protected -- so we would plead with everyone not to deface this area," Ms Murray said.

The damage to Uluru has now been repaired while the graffiti at Kakadu has been cleared up.




   

GET THE FREE DAILY E-NEWSLETTER


Selected Topics from The Epoch Times

USA Science Engineering Festival