Chain of Bays Chain of Bays
February 25, 2021, 05:18:53 am *
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Burial Sites

It is important for visitors to respect sites of significance to Aboriginal people, and not to disturb sites where there is evidence of occupation or burial (e.g. midden heaps, stone fragments and bone fragments). Care should be taken to avoid driving off of recognized roads since there are a number of burial sites and occupation sites in the sand dune country near the coast. Surfers over the years have been amazed by Aboriginal middens and have also strongly opposed motorbike riding in areas such as The Pinnacles in Sceale Bay. From time to time high winds and erosion have revealed Aboriginal burial sites on Searcy Bay and these sudden encounters with the remains of Aboriginal people have featured strongly in surfer's relationship with the area, corroborating and endorsing Aboriginal history.

If evidence of Aboriginal burial sites is found, the location should be marked and the police notified. There are procedures under the Aboriginal Heritage Act, and the police are responsible for initiating these procedures.

"There are a lot of stories...a lot I don't know. And there's a lot of history here. There's the sea. The warna, and there are a lot of graves there. I know they used to go mainly in the sand hills, mostly where the waterholes were, they buried them there. They would sit there, and if anyone died, if they left some old people behind, (a good walk)...You would be finding them right through the coast here, in the sand hills."

"There are a lot of middens. Where there are middens you know that there could be graves around there. Another thing there too, there's a lot of fresh water, where there are middens and fresh water, you know, they would dig and bring things up. There's a lot of fresh water coming out. All around here there's a lot of fresh water coming down from the hills there."

Alan Wilson, Wirangu Elder

Young People and Education

Wirangu people welcome visitors to the Chain of Bays, and look forward to working with all groups for the benefit of the area. Steps are already underway to involve younger generations of Wirangu in the management of the coastal environment. By providing a range of opportunities for young people, new generations of Wirangu will be able to continue their long association with the Chain of Bays.

"Indigenous and non-indigenous people, there's something great here, you only just have to stand out here and you can feel, it's like there's magic. And it's so peaceful, and I think it deserves to be saved for all our generations."

"Youth have to be educated about it, people have got to be educated about it, and children have to be educated about it. We've got to have school excursions out here, show young people this country, their country, the future."

"Look at the land, look at the sea. There's cultural significance here in things. There are scenes here that really tell you that. Everywhere around you, you know. That land there, you look at the sea, and everything here tells me that this is a very special place, all along this coast. I'm not just speaking personally, the whole Aboriginal community will back me on this, our people walked through here for centuries, you know, before European settlement. And what we have felt, other people are feeling today."

Allan Wilson, Wirangu Elder

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