SACRED: Protect Aboriginal site after decades of destruction
ABORIGINAL rangers are trying to undo decades of destruction to a sacred site at a popular fishing location on the Southern Downs.
More than 1000 grinding grooves can be found on a creekside rock near Inglewood, where Bigambul ancestors sharpened their axes and spears.
The site, near the Cunningham Highway, has spiritual and cultural significance for traditional owners but, to others, it is nothing but a popular fishing and camping spot.
Over the years, the site has been marked by graffiti, campfires and car tyres.
Queensland Murray Darling Committee Aboriginal ranger and team leader Malcom Brown said the Aboriginal community was trying to increase public awareness.
"People just don't really know what it means to the traditional owners.”
Mr Brown used to fish on the rocks when he was a boy but it wasn't until he became a ranger that he learnt about the site's significance.
"It felt really good to find something so close to a town I lived in and to know that has been there for such a long time,” he said.
"Just knowing how many Aboriginal people have been through there and used it as a place to sharpen their tools and camp and fish.”
Scar trees and stone artefacts can be found in the area.
The grooves, about 20cm long and 10cm wide where created by repeated axe-grinding into the stone.
Some grooves are 5cm deep, which indicates the site was used intensively for long periods of time.
Mr Brown said there had been some resistance from the community towards efforts to protect the site.
"It is a bit disheartening that people don't know what they are doing to the rock itself,” Mr Brown said.
A fence around the area had been "pulled down” multiple times and people had reportedly camped and made fires.
Mr Brown said traditional owners did not want people to stop using the site for fishing, but to refrain from walking on the grinding grooves and etching into the rock.