Jen Martin was disgusted to find graffiti splashed on rocks near sacred sites at Mount Marlay.
Jen Martin was disgusted to find graffiti splashed on rocks near sacred sites at Mount Marlay. Liana Turner

Outrage over sacred ground desecration

DESECRATION of sacred ground has left indigenous woman and traditional land owner Jen Martin shattered and simply asking 'why'?

For tens of thousands of years sacred sites on Mt Marlay have largely gone untouched, until the weekend when large graffiti tags were found dotting the mountain landscape.

Ms Martin said it was a huge kick to the guts for the indigenous community who hold special reverence for Mt Marlay.

"My people have been protecting country here for over 65,000 years, and all it took was a few moments to desecrate it," Ms Martin said.

"We have protected these places of importance with our lives.

"Nobody should be turning over a blade of grass or even dust without consultation with my people.

"I personally will die for my beloved country."

Mt Marlay has long been a problem area for illegal dumping, the odd bottle tossed over the escarpment, but this latest act of vandalism is a step too far for Ms Martin.

Trust is key and Ms Martin said this act had wound back hers.

"This desecration has just reversed any trust I had, or believed in, with the community and of walking together for conservation of country," she said.

"The trust dial just got turned back at least 50 years.

"Why do it? That's what I want to know. Why?

"My tears and emotions at this moment are impossible to describe.

"It is a very sad time to see ancient Dreamtime sites destroyed."

Her hope is that someone will be identified and prosecuted for the damage.

"It would be my personal wish to see a law made so that justice is served and that the person or persons be made to do conservation work for a very long time. Let's see justice done," she said.

Stanthorpe officer in charge Senior Sergeant Gerard Brady confirmed the incident had been reported to police and investigations were ongoing.

"It's one of those things (graffiti vandalism) we like to jump on, as once it starts it can gain momentum," Sen Sgt Brady said.

Whether it's defacing rocks or buildings, he said vandalism was a matter they took seriously.

Ms Martin said she's keen to work with the community to educate them on the importance of sacred sites atop Mt Marlay.

"For those who wish to walk with my fellow indigenous people, to conserve our country, I'll endeavour in the near future to establish a walk of unity," she said.

Stanthorpe Border Post

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