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Access report Dec 2015 Part 1. Graffiti at Black Ians

Updated: May 10, 2019


At my recent meeting with Parks Victoria on all things rock climbing, this issue came up. Disappointing – I am putting this out there so that people are aware. Although the majority of people out there climbing and visiting are doing the right thing, there are others who may not be thinking, may not be aware or maybe don’t care. This is also not saying that it is necessarily climbers but with Black Ians becoming more popular these days, the amount of climbers heading there means we need to pass the information on, have a word with anyone you either see doing this or have heard about.

For many years, Black Ians has managed to have an art site that isn’t behind a cage. After negotiations with the climbing community many years ago, climbers agreed not to climb in this particular area nor camp in the cave. It now appears that this is at risk. I will be having further discussions with PV on how the climbing community might be able to be involved in some way in these work programs.

For the untrained eye, indigenous artwork and cultural sites may not be the easiest to pick up. Which is why, following some of the rules and guidelines goes a long way to ensuring that damage isn’t done. I’m sure all of us have come across graffiti drawn on by rock on various walls and caves. Most people wouldn’t know that they might be drawing on something that is a registered art site, or could be.

As noted below, there are numerous sites that are not publicly known. And as long as these sites are not being damaged or in danger of being damaged, for the most part the areas won’t be at risk of being closed or caged off. Call it preventative. Is scribbling your name onto the rock worth the fact that an ancient piece of indigenous history is destroyed forever? Or that the climbing area you and others love to climb at is declared out of bounds because of events like this.

Below are a few words from Ryan Duffy at PV. Also included is a photo of the recent finding of graffiti.

Red Rock bushland reserve and Lil Lil rock-art site (Black Ians climbing site)

Jardwadjali traditional owners represented by Barengi Gadjin, Parks Vic, and the Office of Aboriginal Affairs (OAAV) will be delivering a works program to help stabilise and protect rock-art sites in the Black Range State Park and nearby reserves. This will include the Lil Lil rock-art site at Red Rock Bushland Reserve, where graffiti has appeared adjacent to and even overlying rock-art (see attached image).

Just to provide some more context, Gariwerd is the traditional land of Djab Wurrung and Jardwadjali peoples and protects over 80% of the rock-art found in Victoria with over 100 registered rock-art sites. Rock-art can be created from red, yellow or white ochre’s and may depict hand prints or stencils, animal footprints, human stick-figures (lizard men), parallel lines amongst many other motifs. Many sites are very faint today and can be hard to identify. Concentrations of rock-art can be found in areas that are also popular for rock-climbing, such as the north-western Victoria Range and Stapylton area.

Rock-art mostly occurs in shelters or rock-overhangs. A few key points to help protect Gariwerd’s rock-art;

Bouldering in shelters and overhangs is the activity most likely to occur where rock-art has been created. Only climb or boulder in established locations. Minimise the use of chalk and don’t clean new routes.

Obviously never graffiti any rock surface with charcoal, paint or scratch on a rock-surface as there is always a chance rock-art could be underneath or nearby.

If you find rock-art, please report to Parks Victoria on 13 19 63 so we can determine if it has been recorded or not. Every year un-recorded rock-art sites are re-discovered and many new sites have been reported by rock-climbers.

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