Aboriginal sacred site at risk of being ‘desecrated’

A sacred site on the banks of the Shoalhaven River is in danger of being sold to a developer looking to erect residential buildings according to a local Aboriginal woman.

The Nowra Aboriginal Land Council will meet to vote on the selloff on July 8.

However, a Bomaderry woman who has a strong connection to the site has grave concerns that members will vote to sell it.

The site, atop a headland, is a cultural marker between the Dharawal people and the Yuin people.

It faces Thompsons Point, a sacred site for Aboriginal women.

Beneath the escarpment on the headland are a series of caves that will be desecrated by the prospective development, according to Bomaderry’s Natalie Nye.

“You’re going to the see Aboriginal people die if this gets pushed through,” she said.

“If our land is upset, we become upset, and sick, and we die.”

The land council is headed by a non-Aboriginal CEO, and Ms Nye does not believe 30 of its members fairly represent the views of the 1000s of Indigenous people in the Shoalhaven.

“The land has been sitting there for time immemorial, he’s in there for 12 months and looking to sell it off,” she said.

“The people who supported me have been ostracised from council or culled from its membership.

“A more significant survey must be done before it’s sold.”

The Nowra Aboriginal Land Council owns more land than any other private landowner in the Shoalhaven.

It is understood there are six lots up for consideration on July 8, valued at $7 million in total.

“Some land, I don’t have a problem with them selling,” Ms Nye said.

“Where our sacred site is, that’s what’s concerning me.”

For now, Ms Nye believes the selloff may be blocked by the NSW Aboriginal Land Council, because it was not advertised in accordance with the Aboriginal Land Rights Act.

She is willing to fight the issue, and will be protesting the sale in upcoming weeks.

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