Ancient Aborigines demand closure of Mount Beerwah in Glass House Mountains after Uluru ban


Ancient Aborigines want to prevent tourists from climbing one of Australia’s most beautiful mountains as the Uluru ban goes into effect.

The Jinibara people of the region have fought for decades against the Queensland government to shut down Mount Beerwah in the Glass House Mountains of Queensland.

“It is a sacred site,” Jinibara alumnus Ken Murphy told Sunshine Coast Daily.

“This is where the birthplaces were.

The natural landmark is the highest peak in the Glass House Mountains area, as it stands over 550 meters tall.

The Jinibara of the region have fought for two decades against the Queensland government to shut down Mount Beerwah in the Glass House Mountains of Queensland.

Ancient Aborigines want to stop tourists from climbing one of Australia's most beautiful mountains following historic Uluru climbing ban

Ancient Aborigines want to stop tourists from climbing one of Australia’s most beautiful mountains following historic Uluru climbing ban

The site is a popular spot for climbers but was reopened in 2016 after a temporary closure to deal with loose rocks.

Mr Murphy says it should have remained banned as it is considered a site of cultural significance.

It is the mother mountain. It is a sacred site. That’s where the birthplaces were, that’s the main thing, not for people to climb up and take videos, ”Murphy said.

Mr Murphy saw Uluru as a step in the right direction after the monument closed to the public permanently on Saturday.

It was decided that climbing the 348m high rock would be banned after the traditional owners pressured tourists for decades not to climb the monolith.

Massive crowds have flocked to the iconic rock during the last few days the site has remained open to the public.

Just as the traditional owners pleaded for the rock to be closed due to damage concerns, Mr Murphy said climbers were damaging the natural beauty of Mount Beerwah.

“You see the climbers with their light equipment piercing it and marking the mountain.”

Mount Beerwah is a popular spot for climbers but was reopened in 2016 after a temporary closure to deal with unstable rocks

Mount Beerwah is a popular spot for climbers but was reopened in 2016 after a temporary closure to deal with unstable rocks

Just as the traditional owners pleaded for the rock to be closed due to damage concerns, Mr Murphy said climbers were damaging the natural beauty of Mount Beerwah.

Just as the traditional owners pleaded for the rock to be closed due to damage concerns, Mr Murphy said climbers were damaging the natural beauty of Mount Beerwah.

WHY DID INDIGENOUS SENIORS REQUEST A BAN ON CLIMBING FROM ULURU?

It was announced in November 2017 that climbing Uluru, considered a sacred site by the local Anangu people, would be banned from October 26, 2019.

The Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Management Board, made up of a majority of traditional aboriginal owners, has unanimously decided to close the climb.

The traditional owner and chairman of the board, Sammy Wilson, has said on behalf of the Anangu people that it is time to do so.

“We’ve been talking about this for so long and now we can close the climb,” Wilson said. “It’s about protection by combining two systems, government and Anangu.

“This decision is for the Anangu and the non-Anangu together that they are proud of; to realize, of course, it’s the right thing to shut it down.

“The land has a law and a culture. We welcome tourists here. The closing of the climb is not something to feel overwhelmed but a cause for celebration. Let’s come together, let’s close it together.

“If I travel to another country and there is a sacred site, a restricted area, I do not enter or climb there, I respect it. It is the same here for Anangu. We welcome tourists here. We are not stopping tourism, just this activity.

On October 26, 1985, Uluru and Kata Tjuta – formerly known as Olga – were returned to the Anangu people.

Despite the pressure, Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said no plan was in place to shut down the site.

In the past, a number of calls have been made for many landmarks across the country to be closed out of respect for Indigenous culture and beliefs.

Mount Warning, near Murwillumbah in New South Wales, is known to the local natives of Bundjalung as Wollumbin and they have asked mountaineers not to climb its 1,156m peak.

Explorer James Cook named Mount Warning after encountering dangerous reefs off the coast in 1770.

Now officially bearing the two names Wollumbin and Mount Warning, it is considered a sacred site for men and not all native men are allowed at the top.

More than 100,000 walkers make the trek each year, many leaving behind garbage such as toilet paper.

Last year, Rob Appo, head of indigenous heritage at the Tweed Shire Council, told The Australian that those who have climbed Mount Warning were “a little disrespectful” of indigenous creation stories.

“We would prefer people not to climb it, especially all the way to the top, because that’s where a lot of these stories are focused,” Mr. Appo said.

The Bundjalung man said that large numbers of people climbing the mountain have also caused environmental damage to the area.

“The people who wash the toilet and leave the garbage are really a sign of disrespect for this important place,” Mr Appo told The Australian.

Mount Warning, near Murwillumbah (pictured), is known to the local indigenous people of Bundjalung as Wollumbin and they urged mountaineers not to climb its 1,156m peak

Mount Warning, near Murwillumbah (pictured), is known to the local indigenous people of Bundjalung as Wollumbin and they urged mountaineers not to climb its 1,156m peak

Wilpena Pound (pictured) in South Australia's mighty Flinders Ranges features St Mary Peak, which local natives have said they would prefer tourists not to climb

Wilpena Pound (pictured) in South Australia’s mighty Flinders Ranges presents St Mary Peak, which local natives have said they would prefer tourists not to climb

“It would be like people going to the top of the Sydney Harbor Bridge and doing graffiti. It wouldn’t be accepted there, so why would it be acceptable for such a prominent place here? The number of people climbing is unbearable.

The same claims are made about St Mary Peak, Wilpena Pound’s highest point in the Flinders Ranges in South Australia at 1,171m, to show respect for the beliefs of the Adnyamathanha people.

Adnyamathanha’s eldest Jimmy Neville told The Australian last year that St Mary Peak was central to its people’s creation story and urged mountaineers not to climb the summit.

“If people aren’t listening to us, then yes I would personally ban it… I would love to see that happen,” Mr. Neville said. “It is simply for cultural reasons that we ask walkers not to go there.

Massive crowds have flocked to the iconic rock in the past few days, the site has remained open to the public

Massive crowds have flocked to the iconic rock in the past few days, the site has remained open to the public


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