'Please stop': Why photo of Australian mountain is causing heartbreak

·News and Video Producer
·3-min read

Tourists are being asked to stop trekking up a mountain with cultural significance to Indigenous people on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

In a plea posted to social media, Jinibara custodian BJ Murphy has highlighted a large white track worn into Mount Beerwah's green surface by climbers.

“OMG please stop climbing our ancestral mountains, look at the scars,” Mr Murphy wrote.

A Jinibara man is calling on tourists to stop climbing Mount Beerwah. Source: Getty
A Jinibara man is calling on tourists to stop climbing Mount Beerwah. Source: Getty

A search of Instagram gives insight to Mr Murphy's heartbreak with a long stream of photos showing influencers with their arms raised in triumph at the top of the mountain.

There are shots showing kissing couples and solo climbers with beaming smiles as the sun sets in the background, while another image shows names and initials carved into the rock face, a sign the site is being disrespected by some.

'We don't just rock up... and climb on the local church'

“They climb up all of them, and stab on with their walking sticks and their pickaxes when they climb,” Mr Murphy told Yahoo News.

“It’s pretty sad and heartbreaking really.

"We don’t just rock up with ropes and carabiners and a harnesses and climb on the local church, that wouldn’t be allowed."

At 556 metres Mount Beerwah is the highest peak in the Glasshouse Mountains range, and while climbing is legally permitted Mr Murphy hopes by highlighting its significance to the Jinibara and Kabi Kabi, those visiting the area may reconsider their need to “conquer it”.

'Like a tear': Call for tourists to stop climbing mountain

While he is speaking personally and not on behalf of the Jinibara people, it seems he is not the only person left “heartbroken” by the damage, with many taking to Facebook to share their frustration. 

“It’s like a tear,” commented one person.

“We can see this from our house. It is saddening,” wrote someone else.

While many Australians are familiar with the successful campaign to stop tourists climbing Uluru, southwest of Alice Springs, the cultural significance of the Glasshouse Mountains is also just as significant.

Known as Mother Beerwah, the highest peak is regarded as a grandmother and Mr Murphy has a responsibility to protect her as she is pregnant.

Nearby Mount Tibrogargan, is accepted as Mother Beerwah’s husband and referred to as grandfather. 

That mountain has also been scared by hikers.

Mr Murphy (right) encourages tourists to walk amongst the mountains rather than try to
Mr Murphy (right) encourages tourists to walk amongst the mountains rather than try to "conquer" them. Source: Getty / BJ Murphy

Mr Murphy said the walk through the Glasshouse Mountains National Park gives tourists “amazing views” and the opportunity to “immerse themselves” in the region without the need to have to climb the mountains.

“We always ask people to just do the walk and appreciate the mountains for their beauty,” he said.

“Just because there’s a mountain there, it doesn’t mean you have to get to the top.

"The biggest mountain we have to conquer is within ourselves, only then will be truly appreciate the view."

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