Damaged Aboriginal ceremonial site granted to community


Damaged Aboriginal ceremonial site granted to community
  1. Damaged Aboriginal ceremonial site granted to community
    abc.net.au
    A 12,000--year-old Aboriginal law site has been granted to the local community 11 years after it was saved from…
    Western Australia
ABC Great Southern By Alice Walker and Andrew Collins Wide shot of three people standing near a rocky outcrop overlooking wetlands and arid ranges Photo: Members of the Albany Heritage Reference Group Aboriginal Corporation survey the site at Manypeaks in 2009 (Supplied: Albany Heritage Reference Group Aboriginal Corporation)

A Noongar law site more than 12,000 years old has been granted to the local Aboriginal community, 11 years after it was saved from destruction.

The six-hectare site located at Manypeaks, 30 kilometres east of Albany, features a natural rock amphitheatre that was partially dismantled by a former owner.

The Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC) purchased the site in 2006 and on Thursday, granted it to the Albany Heritage Reference Group Aboriginal Corporation (AHRGAC).

"It's a place we know as Moolyup and it's tied in with our Dreamtime legends," AHRGAC chairperson Lynette Knapp said.

"People lived there whilst they were going through the law, like one or two people at a time."

A group of people stand around a table with an Indigenous flag, signing a document Photo: Representatives of local Indigenous families sign the grant certificate (ABC Great Southern: Alice Walker)

Ms Knapp said the ILC was able to prevent the sacred Noongar site from being demolished by the former owner, who extracted granite for his work as a stonemason.

"It's on the big roundabout coming into Albany," she said.

"All the stone there was collected and blasted from that site so it's a bit of a herky [sic] feeling when you pass it and see all our stone site on a garden.

"We saved it just in time."

Ancient turtle shells have been found at the site, as well as quartz artefacts, and granite slabs thought to be lizard traps.

"It's giving us back a site that is so rich in artefacts," Ms Knapp said.

"You can't restore anything that ancient that's been destroyed but it's looking back and keeping those things, restoring it and teaching other people the…