Indigenous community calls for popular tourist destination closure

Indigenous leaders are calling for a crackdown on hiking at Mt Warning after the recent death of an American tourist during a storm.

Just like Uluru, Mt Warning (or Wollumbin as it’s called by the local Indigenous people) is a sacred site for indigenous Australians.

And just like Uluru, there are signs discouraging people from climbing the mountain.

But a lot of people still do, and if you’ve ever visited the northern New South Wales site, then chances are you probably have too.

Sadly, earlier this week an American tourist was struck and killed by lightning on Mt Warning and his girlfriend was injured.

The tragedy has led local indigenous leaders to call for a crackdown on hikers at Mt Warning.

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An indigenous heritage officer with the Tweed Shire Council has described the aboriginal people’s response to the tragedy, explaining to ABC radio how they felt a “great sense of responsibility” when people were injured at the sacred site.

“You have to understand that aboriginal people get very emotional about people that get into trouble at these cultural sites because we know the significance of those sites,” Rob Appo said.

“It’s a shame each year that many people get into trouble on the mountain for a number of different reasons.”

Read more: Murwillumbah and Mt Warning in a van

As Appo says, you wouldn’t just climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge or the Sydney Opera House without having a guide and some safety, so why should people be allowed to climb the mountain as they please?

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He’s called for an aboriginal ranger program, like the one at Uluru, to help protect the mountain.

“There is information out there and info on the web and even through to car park and base of Wollumbin. It’s quite clear the cultural significance it has for aboriginal people,”  he said.

“I’d suggest to anyone going into a different culture or different cultural area of significance, you (should) inform yourself of those sensitivities.”

If you weren’t aware of the cultural significance of Mt Warning/Wollumbin, it’s regarded as a sacred men’s site.

Would you ever climb Mt Warning? Should there be a crackdown on hikers climbing the mountain on their own?


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