PARKS Victoria will put protection measures in place for parts of Mount Arapiles following the rediscovery of an Aboriginal tool manufacturing site.
It says the site, which covers areas known to rock climbers as 'Plaque Rock' and 'Tiger Wall', is potentially of national significance.
The areas covered by the new protections reportedly include the cliff faces and the bushland at the base of the cliff. Collectively, the four areas of Mount Arapiles feature 228 climbing and bouldering routes, according to user-edited website www.thecrag.com.
In a statement, Parks Victoria and Registered Aboriginal Party Barengi Gadjin Land Council said the production site extends for around 200 metres around the base of a rock face.
"(It) is where Traditional Owners - the Jadawadjali, part of the Wotjobaluk Nations - manufactured a variety of tools from stone sourced all over Dyurrite (Mount Arapiles)," they said.
"These included sharp-edged knives and spear-heads for cutting and hunting, and flat stones for grinding foods or crushing materials, such as to make pigments for painting.
"The manufacturing site was also used to prepare the quarried stone for trade - stone from Dyurrite has been found throughout south-east Australia, part of the extensive Aboriginal trade network that existed prior to European arrival.
"The rediscovery was made during condition assessments on six known rock art sites in the park. During this process, quarry sites, artefact scatters and cultural material were also identified at three other locations, highlighting the area's rich history. This included a 'Hertzian percussion cone' - evidence of the initial step in the Aboriginal quarrying process."
BGLC's manager of on-country operations Stuart Harradine said he was pleased the First Nations people of Dyurrite had "played a key role in the reidentification and protection of our cultural heritage in this landscape".
"This is a part of upholding our sacred responsibility to care for Country and culture as passed to us through tens of thousands of years of tradition," he said.
"We are also pleased that Parks Victoria is able to commit resources to undertake a thorough heritage survey at Dyurrite, an action that we have been eager to see commence in Mount Arapiles-Tooan State Park."
"This will help us assess and put in place protection measures for what we suspect are many more of our heritage sites waiting to be reidentified, and to do so as quickly as possible to provide certainty for recreational users and small business."
More to come.
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