ALWAYS WAS, ALWAYS WILL BE - Ban people from rock climbing at Thompson's point, Nowra NSW
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Thompson's Point has a huge cultural significance to the local Aboriginal people including myself.
Throughout Thompson's Point there are cultural significant sites which includes a lot of Aboriginal rock art which are currently being destroyed by rock climbers putting chalk all over our art and drilling in anchor point.
THIS HAS TO STOP
The first climbing routes were recorded at Thompson’s Point in 1989 and it quickly became one of the most popular climbing areas in Australia. The cliffline is crown land and managed by Shoalhaven City Council and is zoned “Public Recreation”. Several commercial tourism ventures utilize the site for abseiling and rock climbing and are promoted by Shoalhaven Council.
In early 2015 rangers informed a couple of climbers at Thompson’s Point that they may have found Aboriginal drawings on Mini Wall (underneath the route Cowboy Junkies). This was communicated by the climbers to the wider climbing community who took action by installing signage at the wall (which has since been taken down) and placing notes on climbing forums about avoiding this area. A subsequent official archaeological survey was done of Thompson’s Point by the land manager, Shoalhaven City Council in late 2015.
The Nowra Climbing guidebook is published in 2016 and mentions that Mini Wall is “closed to climbing in respect of the Aboriginal heritage in the area. No guidebook has been updated to reflect another significant site.
In 2019 climbers at Thompson’s Point were told by Aboriginal people of a second art site at the Pocketed Wall. This site and Mini Wall were confirmed by Shoalhaven City Council on a walk around with ACANSW representatives soon after. Upon hearing this information the routes on Pocketed Wall were immediately signposted by the climbing community as closed.
In 2020 local Aboriginal Elders along with Shoalhaven City Council representatives walked through Thompson’s Point with ACANSW representatives and have approved the current level of route closures and communication with the wider climbing community.
Although the current level of protection has been approved by the listed above a lot of the greater local Aboriginal community believe that the current protection level is far too forgiving and open to exploration.
On my visit today (Sunday 8 November 2020), I spoke with a group of rock climbers who stated that they were going to climb the “pocketed wall” (one of the protected sites).
This being the case the level of protection in place is not enough.
The level of protection needed is one that will stop rock climbers destroying and disrespecting the Aboriginal cultural.
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