THE reaction to a new sign erected at the site of the Baiame Cave had been “blown out of proportion,” the property owner says.
Noelene Smith said they put the signs up on the weekend to make it clearer to visitors that they were on private property, not public land.
But some people had assumed they were preventing people from accessing the important Aboriginal site.
“We’ll never stop anyone from going to visit the cave,” she said. “We just want them to be aware that it is on private property, not public land, and to please let us know when they are planning to visit. There is not a gate locking people out.”
She said some weekends they would get “30-odd people” coming on to the property at all times of the night and day.
In some instances, people were camping there, not realising it was private land.
“There are only three weekends in the year it is closed for safety reasons. We don’t stop anyone from coming in.
“We have a lot of local Aboriginal people bring people and schools here on tours.
“A lot of people were not aware that it wasn’t public land, so we put the sign up. That’s really what it’s all about.”
Baiame Cave is of state significance for its association with the main figure depicted in the cave, believed to be Baiame – understood by some Aboriginal people across NSW to be the creator, the ‘Father of All’, and the most important ancestor and law-maker.
The site is also of state significance for its history and associations with the Wonnarua, the Aboriginal people who are understood to be the traditional custodians of the artwork prior to and post colonisation.