Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Pre-European contact stone walls discovered on North Lismore Plateau

Echo NetDaily, 23 September 2016:

Bundjalung elder Mickey Ryan in the area of the plateau where rockwalls are located. (Darren Coyne)

Archaeologists investigating ancient stonewalls and other sites on the North Lismore Plateau believe the area could be as culturally significant as Uluru.

Led by Bundjalung elder Mickey Ryan, the archaeologists from Tocomwall Pty Ltd visited the plateau yesterday as part of a survey of the area’s cultural landscape.

Mr Ryan has been leading the fight to stop a 1500 dwelling development proposed by the Lismore City Council and local landowners.

The council has rezoned the plateau for residential development and has said that development applications would be lodged before the end of the year.

A section of the rockwalls which archaeologists believe pre-date European contact. (Darren Coyne)

But Scott Franks, managing director of Tocomwall, an Aboriginal cultural heritage consultancy firm that provides archaeological, ecological and cultural heritage services across Australia, yesterday told Echonetdaily that such a development would be desecration.

‘I believe it’s as significant as Uluru. I’ve never seen anything like this and I grew up with my old people walking the country. I’ve been in the army and all over Australia and I’ve never seen anything like it … especially not in New South Wales,’ Mr Franks said.

‘I believe it’s highly significant and the council should be turning their minds to ways to protect this. If this area is cleaned up and managed properly, and the right protocols are put in place with the right knowledge holders, I think it could be an unbelievable teaching area for archaeology, and also for tourism.’

‘The council needs to get with it and understand what they’ve got here but it seems they haven’t got a clue.’

Tocomwall’s senior archaeologist Jakub Czastka, who trained at the Institute of Archaeology in London, said the site should be properly surveyed and protected.
‘What I’ve seen up there in terms of the wall alignments and the features most certainly do not conform to European or post-contact practice,’ he said…..

Mr Ryan has vowed to fight any plans to develop housing on the plateau, and has the support of the Bundjalung Council of Elders.

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