• "It’s a healing pool and birthing place": Robyn Bellafquih . Picture: Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation (Supplied)Source: Supplied
Visitors and locals are 'desecrating' the Blue Hole Pool 'reserved for women’s business' despite the signs and boom gates restricting access.
By
Hannah Hollis

Source:
NITV News
31 Mar 2016 - 4:17 PM  UPDATED 31 Mar 2016 - 4:34 PM

The Daintree region in just an hour’s drive north from Cairns on the north east coast of Queensland and it’s one of the oldest continuous living tropical rainforests in the world.

The incredible repository of information provides an insight into a life that’s thousands of years old.

One area in particular, the Blue Hole Pool is an Aboriginal sacred site, and according to traditional custodian Robyn Bellafquih, "it’s reserved for women’s business."

“It’s a healing pool and birthing place,” she told NITV news.

The pool is found at the end of a road that used to be available to the public, but Robin says "visitors were desecrating" the area.

“People used to wash their cars in the creek and it would flow into the pools because it’s near there, forever people have been drinking and leaving rubbish,” she told NITV News.

While the Blue Pool itself is within the World Heritage Area, the land being used by members of the public to access it, is not.

“Our biggest problem is that it’s been a local swimming pool for years, and all the locals know about it and visit it frequently, our hurdle is to get the locals educated,” she told NITV News.

Robin says a boom gate and signs were erected saying ‘Traditional Owners prefer visitors not swim in the pool’ and that ‘permission is needed’ before entering, but she adds "people don’t understand the significance."

“We’ve had the signs up for a few years and we used to have a boom gate too, but the signs were pulled out a few years ago and someone took the lock off the boom gate so cars can drive in,” she said.

For those that ignore the signs, the consequences can make "people very sick."

“We had a case a few years ago where a man who was visiting from overseas went swimming without permission, a Traditional Owner asked him to stop. A few years later, the next time he was in town he came back and said he couldn’t have a family, he was sterile. The Traditional Owner wasn’t surprised.”

“In our cultural way, that’s what would happen to men if they went there, they get very sick.”

Robin is quick to add it's not just the men at risk.

“Even the women within our tribal group need to ask permission or they might get sick as well."

Robin says there are alternative areas in the forest the public can use that won’t affect their sacred site.

“Ideally we’d like people to not swim there. There are other beautiful places to swim around the Daintree and we can direct them to those places as well”.