Victoria's Minister for Aboriginal affairs announced protections had been put in place tp preserve a culturally significant Aboriginal site in the state's north-west region on Friday.
Gabrielle Williams said the interim protection declaration - the first made under the Aboriginal Heritage Act for the state - will ensure the area is adequately protected while Traditional Owners and land managers consider longer-term protection strategies for the site.
“We take the protection of Aboriginal cultural heritage very seriously – and it is essential we work together with the whole community to protect, celebrate and respect Aboriginal history," said Ms Williams
“This declaration gives Traditional Owners time to consider what safeguards they would like in place in the long term to preserve the cultural significance of Dyurrite 1.”
Dyurrite 1 is a small rock shelter that is part of Taylors Rock or Declaration Crag, located to the south of Mount Arapiles, where more than 50 Aboriginal rock art motifs – undetectable to the naked eye – have recently been identified.
The site which is popular with rock climbers, also includes a stone artefact scatter and a stone quarry.
While the area was immediately closed to park users in December, the interim declaration allows for significant fines if the area is disturbed. It will be subject to review in three months’ time and can be extended for a further three months.
The site has already been added to the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Register.
The Barengi Gadjin Land Council Aboriginal Corporation represent Traditional Owners in the north-west part of the state, including Arapiles, and will work in partnership with the Victorian Government on a long-term protection strategy.