Kuradji -the 6000 year old ‘clever fella’
Here beside my new found home, south of Sydney, lies a sacred burial site with the ancient skeletal remains of ‘Kuradji’ an Aboriginal ‘clever fella’ (similar to a shaman). His burial took place up to 6000 years ago making him TWICE as old an the ancient Egyptian Pharaohs, and THREE times as ancient as the Roman Forum.
This sacred site at Sandon Point, is a major headland and wetland corridor, containing 27% of the remaining coastal wetlands of the Illawarra. The skeleton was found during the 1998 floods. There are reports at http://old.sandon-point.org.au/kuradji.htm of a number of Aboriginal skeletons being found in this area. It has been the traditional meeting, trading and ceremonial place for people from far-flung regions, both coastal and inland, for tens of thousands of years.
“There is an important dreaming track that runs up Bulli Pass. Sandon Point is part of that dreaming track.” (Reuben Brown, Elouera elder)
The archaeological and anthropological significance of Sandon Point cannot be overstated. Yet what is spoken of this? Shame on those who deny Australians, and the world, of our true historic treasures and sacred knowledge.
In 2000 a mostly-white community at Sandon Point near Wollongong rallied under an Aboriginal flag to try to stop a multi-million-dollar housing development planned for the Sandon Point headland. Indigenous activists and local surfers joined forces to oppose the development. One archaeologist told a court hearing that Sandon Point contained several million artefact fragments and was at least as significant as the World Heritage-listed Lake Mungo.
The community says: No Houses!
Despite years of court challenges and protests, the housing estate went ahead. The NSW Government turned a blind eye to the destruction of Aboriginal heritage at Sandon Point. Stockland, the developer, was granted consent to Destroy Aboriginal Cultural Heritage by the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
But slightly down the beach, in the shadows of the looming steel-and-glass housing estate, the Aboriginal flag still flies at the Kuradji Tent Embassy. Despite harassment and encroaching buildings at this important cultural site, the local community continues to protect and preserve the area.
MEDIA RELEASE #1 – 3 January 2001SANDON POINT TENT EMBASSYAn Aboriginal Tent Embassy has been established on McCauley’s Beach at Sandon Point, Bulli.
The coals used to light the Sacred Fire originated from Tent Embassy fires all across the country, and were carried here in a ceremonial coolamon.
The fire will remain alight to show respect to the people who have lived here, died here and been buried here for tens of thousands of years before white invasion.
The Sandon Point Tent Embassy camp is here to highlight the importance of the area, which is being threatened by a huge (428-lot) housing “development” plan.
There are many Aboriginal sites on this land, ranging from middens to burial sites.
The Aboriginal community know that some skeletons, remains and relics have already been moved from this area. This has been kept secret and covered up by a multitude of government departments, including Wollongong City Council, who have not informed or involved the community adequately.
We want the area nationally listed under the Heritage Act.
The proposed housing development for this site will have a detrimental impact on the local Aborigines’ cultural right to identify with their land and their spirituality.
This proposed housing development is a direct act of cultural genocide.
The wider community and the media are invited to come to Sandon Point Tent Embassy and sit with the Aboriginal people to discuss the cultural values and the preservation of this land.
The Indigenous cultures of Australia are the oldest living cultural history in the world – they go back at least 50,000 years and some argue closer to 65,000 years. One of the reasons Aboriginal cultures have survived for so long is their ability to adapt and change over time. Indigenous communities keep their cultural heritage alive by passing their knowledge, arts, rituals and performances from one generation to another, speaking and teaching languages, protecting cultural materials, sacred and significant sites, and objects.
It is up to us, as citizens of the world to not only acknowledge Aboriginal cultures, but learn from and support their ongoing practices, sharing stories like these so the truth is not lost, and so that we as a global community can grow from this wisdom.