Hikers slammed for 'ignorant' act on sacred Aussie site

Footage of the three men standing on White Rock has left some locals furious, while others assert the group did nothing wrong.

A photo of three men atop White Rock at Ipswich. Source: Facebook via Daily Mail
This photo of a trio of hikers sparked anger over the weekend. Source: Facebook via Daily Mail

A local has hit out at a trio of hikers calling them “ignorant and disrespectful” after catching the men standing on top of a “sacred site” in Queensland bushland over the weekend.

The group were filmed from a distance chatting among themselves while basking in the sun on the summit of White Rock at Ipswich, south of Brisbane, on Saturday.

Furious over their apparent dismissal of signs erected in the area urging those who visit the popular hiking spot not to climb the sandstone formation, the passerby posted the clip to a Redbank Plains Facebook group, the Daily Mail reports.

Climbing White Rock (Nugum/Boogun) — “known culturally as a Women’s area” — and the adjacent southern ridge is prohibited, according to the Ipswich City Council.

“These sacred sites are very important to the Traditional Owners as they provide a link between Country and personal identity and allow the passing on of cultural knowledge,” it states on its website. “As per Cultural Protocol the Traditional Owners have requested no one climbs White Rock.”

White Rock site near Ipswich is pictured.
The White Rock site is sacred to traditional owners. Source: Aussie Bushwalking

Due to its cultural significance, many angry locals have vented online about their frustrations over the video, with one person comparing the behaviour to breaking “into the back rooms/bowels of a church because they want to”, the publication reports.

Another said the area was traditionally where Indigenous women would give birth, explaining it is significant “for all womenfolk”.

However, others argued the men haven’t done anything wrong — and even admitted to climbing it themselves.

“I personally don’t see the harm, I realise it says don’t climb but if they aren’t defacing it or leaving rubbish everywhere then no harm done, probably just enjoying the view, better then having them out doing crime,” one resident reportedly wrote.

Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding told Yahoo News “White Rock Spring Mountain Conservation Estate is one of Ipswich’s most beloved and popular nature reserves, enjoyed by all”.

“It is also a site of great significance to the Traditional Owners of this region, protected under the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003 Qld. Council recognises this significance and has put signs in place throughout the estate requesting no one climbs White Rock or desecrates the site,” she said.

Council workers and mounted police attend White Rock.
Council workers and police attend White Rock. Source: City of Ipswich

“There are many beautiful walking trails throughout White Rock Spring Mountain Conservation Estate and other Ipswich nature reserves that can be enjoyed without impacting culturally significant sites. I encourage all residents to think about how their actions can impact others, and treat culturally significant sites with respect.”

The heated debate raged just days after it was revealed tourists may be banned from setting foot on South Australia’s Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre, the country’s largest salt lake, under a proposed plan created to help preserve its “cultural significance” for traditional land owners. While swimming, driving, and boating are already prohibited, the proposed plan — released by the state’s department for environment and water on Friday — hopes to restrict any recreational access to the lake bed.

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