770 Significant Aboriginal Site at Balmoral

More on the subject of the original inhabitants in this country of ours: I recently wrote to Mosman council and the Aboriginal Heritage Office (AHO). I made a suggestion that I reckon is a no-brainer: We have at Balmoral a “significant” Aboriginal site … I’ve blogged about it before (blog 677); it’s a gorgeous spot right next to the road, opposite the kids’ playground.


I suggested the site should be opened up to the public, by removing four car spaces and grassing the surrounding area:

“Allow me to draw your attention to an anomaly that I believe should be corrected: The Aboriginal Site that I  documented in my blog  is - in my opinion - extraordinary. I have been in Australia for 37 years, yet, I have never come across a site of such significance. 


“However, it is a great shame that the site is crowded-in and obstructed by parked cars, currently it’s practically hidden from view; in fact, it is rather much neglected. With removing just four car-spaces and an improved site-presence, the area could be opened up and the public’s attention drawn to it. It could well be a tourist attraction (I have used Photoshop to show the potential).


“Furthermore, combined with the easy access and its prominent position in Balmoral, the site should be used as an educational facility for school children to be taught about Aboriginality (I am sure a digeridoo would sound wonderful in the cave).”


The council is considering the suggestion, but I had two rather surprising responses: From the AHO:


“It would be good to see the shelter better protected with a more respectful buffer. There would need to be considerable thought and assessment put into ensuring any proposed changes did not create further impacts, and highlighting sites to the public can unfortunately precipitate vandalism …”


The subtext here is: We would rather hide a site like this, than risk people becoming aware of it and wanting to use it. And this was the response from Mosman Council:


“Parking is at a premium at Balmoral, council predicts there would be an outcry from the public if parking was restricted by removing 4 car spaces.”  "At this time Council is reluctant to remove parking in front of the site because of the high demand for parking at Balmoral ..."


All this seems so odd to me … I would like to make this point: I call the site "significant" because people have used it for shelter three thousand years ago. Wow! By the same token, it is not significant in respect of visible remnants of Aboriginal inhabitants, i.e. there are no cave paintings or any artefacts that could be destroyed. The most that could happen is that some kids light a camp fire, sit around it and listen to their iPods ... or contemplate what happened here 3000 years ago.

Furthermore, there are huge amounts of parking available along the Esplanade and in the council carpark at Balmoral Oval.

This is what the site looks like right now: