Thursday, February 2, 2023

Miscreants destroy rock art in Australia

ADELAIDE, Australia ( Associated Press) – Vandals have destroyed rock art dating back nearly 30,000 years.

The vandals appeared to be removing parts of a barbed wire fence at Koonalda Cave and climbing under it, before using their fingers to paint over the Indigenous art, said Kyam Maher, South Australia’s minister of state for Aboriginal Affairs Said.

“Honestly, it’s painful. These caves are the oldest evidence of Aboriginal occupation in that part of the country,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corp on Wednesday.

The works were considered sacred by the indigenous Miring people, who lived on the Nullarbor Plain.

Maher, who is also the state’s attorney general, said anyone found responsible could face criminal charges. Violating the state’s tribal heritage protection laws can result in up to six months in prison or a fine of up to $10,000.

Maher said officials were determined to increase the penalties, which have been in place since 1988. It is also studying where other security measures such as cameras can be placed. The cave is listed on the Australian National Heritage List.

“This is not some kind of sudden change,” he said. “This is someone who intentionally walked over the fence, the barbed wire, and went and destroyed it. It’s the worst kind of vandalism I can imagine.”

Miring community elder Clem Lawrie told the Adelaide Advertiser newspaper that he was shocked by the destruction and that several petitions to the state government to better protect the site had failed.

The description of Kunalda Cave in the Australian Heritage Register indicates that it contains well-preserved fingerprints and unique archaeological sites.

The text states, “Kunalda Cave has outstanding heritage value to the country for its role in transforming our contemporary understanding of Australia’s extraordinary era of occupation, archeology and Aboriginal art.” “The site is of great importance for its contribution to the history of Aboriginal occupation and is of particular importance to the Miring people.”

Nation World News Desk
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