Stuart Ayres MP, Member for Penrith has welcomed the declaration of Red Hands Cave at Glenbrook as an Aboriginal Place in recognition of its cultural, social and historic significance of the site to the Aboriginal community.
Stuart Ayres said the 12 metre-high Red Hands Cave – situated in Blue Mountains National Park – was named in recognition of the red, orange and white stencils of aboriginal people’s hands which decorate the cave.
“There are 45 hand markings, both left and right hands, and some children’s hand markings,” Stuart Ayres said.
“The site is a ceremonial cave which was used for the initiation of young warriors. There is documented evidence that there was a Bora Ring on the top of the cave and according to Aboriginal stories the cave was the abode of Aboriginal ghosts that represented the children left there by the Great Spirit.
Mr Speakman said unfortunately there had been significant vandalism to the cave over the years, and national park’s management had responded by implementing various conservation measures such as the erection of a viewing platform and barriers to prevent people from touching the cave’s surface.
The gazettal of Red Hands Cave as an Aboriginal Place will ensure that the site is looked after under a plan of management, reducing the risk of further degradation of the site.”
Stuart Ayres said the latest declaration by the Environment and heritage Minister Mark Speakman reaffirmed that the NSW Government is committed to the recognition and conservation of Aboriginal cultural heritage.
“By declaring these significant lands as Aboriginal Places, we recognise and acknowledge that Aboriginal culture is living and continuing, and that the connection of Aboriginal people to the land and culture is immensely important to their wellbeing and future,” Stuart Ayres said.
The declaration of an Aboriginal Place does not change the status of the land or affect ownership rights. However, a person must not harm or desecrate an Aboriginal Place.