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Byron Shire
November 30, 2022

Summit track for Wollumbin (Mt Warning) remains closed

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Wollumbin Caldera. Photo Dean Trezise DPE

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Wollumbin Consultative Group and the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is the first step towards joint management of Wollumbin National Park, which has Wollumbin (Mt Warning) within its borders. 

Minister for Environment James Griffin said this will be the first step towards joint management between the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and Aboriginal custodians of Wollumbin National Park, as part of joint management reforms.

View towards Wollumbin (Mt Warning) from slopes of Jerusalem Mountain. Photo Dean Trezise DPE

‘Wollumbin holds deep significance for the Bundjalung people and this step recognises the importance of protecting its cultural value,’ Mr Griffin said.    

‘The Wollumbin Consultative Group has been providing guidance to NPWS on the management of the national park since 2000, and its long-standing view is that public access to the summit is not in line with the cultural values of the area.

‘We’re committed to putting Aboriginal land management and stewardship at the heart of our efforts to conserve our precious environment and care for Country, which is why any future decisions about Wollumbin will be guided by Aboriginal custodians.’

Glimpse of Doughboy Mountain and Wollumbin (Mt Warning) at sunset. Photo Viktor Posnov DPIE

In a statement, Wollumbin Consultative Group said:

‘Wollumbin is of the highest significance to the Aboriginal nations, particularly the Bundjalung nation in northern NSW, as a sacred ceremonial and cultural complex that is linked to traditional law and custom. Wollumbin is interconnected to a broader cultural and spiritual landscape that includes Creation, Dreaming stories and men’s initiation rites, of deep antiquity.

‘Bundjalung beliefs illustrate the spiritual values embodied and evoked in Wollumbin and its connections to a broader cultural landscape. These connections are important to the spiritual identity of the Bundjalung nation, many other nations and families connected to Wollumbin, predominantly men and also women.

‘We have a responsibility for caring for Country, our environment, plants, animals, water, earth, and sky. As the oldest living culture in the world, we are sharing our cultural knowledge and entrusting this knowledge with the broader community so that our values, tradition, and law are respected, understood and acknowledged.’

Blackbutts Lookout with view across the Tweed Caldera to Wollumbin (Mt Warning). Photo Murray Vanderveer DPIE

While the summit track at Wollumbin remains closed, there are alternative trails for visitors and hikers to choose from in the region, with new visitor infrastructure being developed as part of the largest investment in the history of national parks.

‘The $7.35 million Tweed Byron Hinterland Trail, for example, will be a stunning new 38km, four-day hiking trail, and cement the North Coast of NSW as a premier destination to visit.’

In addition, plans for two new walk experiences are being finalised:

  •         Caldera Rim Walk – a 7.2 kilometre walk with rainforest, caldera rim and mountain views
  •         Mount Chowan Link – a 2.5 kilometre walk linking the Tweed Byron Hinterland Trail and potentially the Northern Rivers Rail Trail.

National parks say they are a key driver of the visitor economy on the NSW North Coast, generating $974 million per year and supporting more than 600 jobs.

Wollumbin Mountain was declared an Aboriginal Place above 600m to the summit by the NSW Government in 2014 to protect its cultural values and formally recognise it as a place of special significance to Aboriginal people.

‘The development of an MOU will provide a framework for Aboriginal decision making about the national park, including any future decisions regarding the summit track and the installation of new visitor infrastructure,’ said the press release. 

Wollumbin National Park has been closed since March 2020 due to COVID-19, public safety risks and further consultation with the Aboriginal community.

For more information, visit: http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/wollumbin-national-park.


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34 COMMENTS

  1. Mt. Warning has great significance to me, and all Australians and as a National Park belongs to all.
    This racist, exclusivist group, ‘The Wollumbin Consultative Group’ has no standing in my eyes, and while welcome to revere the wonders of our Mt. Warning National Park in their own ‘special’ way, they can keep their opinions to themselves, on which RACE has access to Australia’s national parks.
    Cheers, G”)

    • I want I want I want
      Bottom line dinosaur is Wollumbin is not your land.
      Sovereignty was never ceded, there is no treaty, traditional owners have been ignored for centuries, so pull your head in

      • Nat, are you Aboriginal?

        If not, why are you here?

        By your statement we should all be deported if not Aboriginal. Or perhaps kept here…in chains by an Aboriginal master.

        This is what some Aboriginal people are pursuing as an end game. Are you?

        Pull your head in

        • I said nothing like that, you’ve invented several loony fantasies in one post and once again you’re baselessly demonising Aboriginal people and just making sh*t up.

          Why am I here? I’m assuming you mean on the comments page of a free local newspaper? I’m here to provide some perspective to the endless entitled moronic racist posts of ignorant entitled angry old white men. Pardon your ignorance for not having heard of Native Title, but it is LAW, as determined multiple times by the highest courts in the land & re-affirmed after appeals by other conservative angry entitled old white men. Native Title is not a new thing either, it was determined decades ago, get with the times.
          The legally affirmed custodians of Wollumbin are entitled to manage and protect their sacred sites as is appropriate. This consultation process has been happening for decades and has been an exercise in delay and obfuscation. As with the traditional custodians of Uluru, local traditional owners have always objected to its visitation, exploitation and desecration.

          Nor is the sacredness and significance of Wollumbin to the Bundjalung people the recent cynical invention many rednecks claim, having been recorded by multiple sources such as early Tweed settlers, clergymen and anthropologists in the first decades of European settlement, just for those who cast doubt on the accuracy of oral histories.

          Oh yer, and pull your own head in too

    • these people just want to close this country down, close the world down, let people sit in their homes and read about the world not experience it. I feel sorry for our children who will never visit that place. I remember going as a child, it inspired me to get into working with indigenous persons in the NT and also to learn about plants and animals , when I was in my early teens.

      • Garbage, it’s about respecting places of cultural significance and the wishes of traditional owners.
        It’s a pity your visit – the one that supposedly “inspired you to get into working with indigenous persons in the NT and also to learn about plants and animals , when I was in my early teens” didn’t teach you anything about respecting cultural values

  2. Agree with Ken. National parks belong to all of us. The park has significiance to me and my family. There is no reason it can’t be shared. How many other parks will be closed on this basis?

  3. “Tick the Box” Ken, it’s the only way we will get unrestricted access to any national park in future administered by NPWS.

    • Only initiated men would have access to the summit, now there are none.
      If you want unrestricted access all areas you have legs, so you won’t need tracks or roads everywhere.

  4. Not content with getting millions of taxpayer dollars and using them to employ only Aboriginal people, the racist Aboriginal people now are going to exclude the rest of Australia from as many natural areas as they can.

    While some bleeding heart lefties are happy for this, the silent majority of Australia will respond by quietly excluding Aboriginal people from their businesses.

    Sadly, including those that don’t support this racism.

    In the circumstances, this can hardly be criticised.

    RIP reconciliation

    • Showing your true colours here inciting racist treatment in retribution.

      Native Title is law conferring ownership, ownership confers management. Native Title laws weren’t made by your “bleeding heart lefties” but in courts asked to determine ownership of places.

      As for “RIP reconciliation” you just don’t get it do you? Reconciliation only on your terms eh? No listening, understanding or empathy required

  5. Everything has a different meaning to different people and groups.

    If you don’t want to climb it then don’t climb it, I don’t see why it should stop other people who can respectively climb it and use it as an educational and spiritual experience to connect to nature. The key is is respecting the place not closing it down.

    How many special mountains around the world are closed to climbing, this decision that is divisive and highly restrictive of human freedoms. Look at Mt Everest, Mt Fuji, Mt Shasti, Mt Kilimanjaro, people climb those mountains, there would be groups of people who don’t because of their beliefs and so be it, they can choose not to climb.

    I for one know some indigenous persons who have no problem with climbing it, if done so with respect. The Wollumbin Consultative Group does not necessarily represent everyone. There has been extremely limited public feedback on this matter, its mostly all happened behind closed doors.

    • I don’t agree with negative gearing but doesn’t give me the right to live others empty holiday houses.
      Climb your own mountain.

  6. The plan is essentially an ambit claim from the WCG. The opposing posiiton is or unfettered access. There is a middle ground. It’s a pity the spineless Minister did not choose to sit down and negotiate an agreement that provided for continued public access. There are a large range of options from fees to having a ranger stationed in the park. If this is what to expect from joint management then access to every public space is under threat.

    • Yes MarcH – this creeping koori exclusivity has been going on for some time, but most people have closed their eyes and minds and wished for a misguided and futile Utopian acquiescence for a particular 3.6% minority group in our Nation.
      The access to public land for all -a struggle against a presently divided nation, which has given legal preferences in access, education, fishing and hunting etc., to one particular class of people, encouraged by well-meaning but flawed preference laws.
      (Aboriginality reportedly growing by +40% in the recent Census).
      Just wait for ‘The Voice to Parliament’ – this debate can only get more intense in the near future.

    • The position has always been the same. It’s a typical pissweak response from the LNP minister to not take responsibility. Again. Then blame it on the traditional owners

  7. So disappointing!
    Another wedge driven between indigenous Australian’s and all other Australian’s. How can Australia unite when there is a continual push for division by loud minority groups.

  8. I enjoyed climbing up there (as did many others), that is significant to me. There is an incredible irony in how these same ‘people’ who are all for taking away other’s rights (& jobs in the process) are the exact same people who are on the dole cutting government welfare cheques, paid for by the very same people they seek to ‘close down’ – hypocrite much?
    You can’t have it both ways – you don’t like these people, don’t take their welfare cheques, don’t use technology created by those same people – cars, computers, running water, electricity , mobile phones, etc, etc.

    • What planet / drugs are you on? & what are you on about? Seems like you’re just promoting some offensive stereotypes, false equivalence & absurdities trying to make what point exactly? Little wonder you’re “Anon”

  9. There are plenty of other mountains to climb. Aboriginal people do not have churches, their religious/cultural sites are specific land sites. You can’t go climb a cathedral, you cant go shooting kangaroos in a National Park, sports groups are given the right to restrict other groups from using public sportsfields, you cant camp on a public road. if you cant find it in yourself to give some grace to the existing 60,000 year religious and cultural activity of this land, then history tells us land issues bubble up and are dealt with by civil war (check out the Balkans), and who could disagree that 500,000 armed Aboriginals couldnt take back a chunk of this continent – is that what your beligerent ‘us Australians of immigrant backgrounds want no consideration of Aboriginal peoples culture’ leads to? Have a look at yourself and how you react if something that is important to you is totally ignored by others.

  10. All very valid points-of-view in the Comments. I just wanted to chime in and say that none of the Aboriginal people that me or my friends have spoken to about this share the views of the Wollumbin Consultative Group. So I’m left wondering who the WCG are representing, if not their own people. Hmmmmm……

    • The Wollumbin Consultative Group represents local groups such as Tweed-Byron LALC, Elders & families acknowledged as the Traditional custodians.
      Wonder no more, I think you can safely assume that the Aboriginal people you & your friends have spoken to are not locals, not family members of Traditional custodians, & not even members or participants in the Tweed-Byron LALC where the issue has been discussed for generations, & as such as merely representing themselves

  11. The bureaucrats at NPWS must be chuffed that they will save a fortune by not having to maintain a park that isn’t even in Sydney. Meanwhile, the people of the Tweed are told that the end point of the reconciliation journey this progressive community has been on for a generation is that they must avert their eyes from the glorious wonder of creation that overlooks all their lives. Apparently someone did something to someone once, so it will be justice that white people have no mountain.

    • Relax Sam, when I drove home about 3 hours ago the mountain was still there…. & may just outlast us both.
      I cast mine own eyes upon its glorious overlookingness.

      As I understand it, the mountain is closed to everyone, not just your “white people”. The end point of the reconciliation journey your progressive community has been on for a generation is to listen to traditional owners, acknowledge ownership, hand back management & respect their wishes – especially when it comes to managing places that have long been acknowledged as sacred to them. The view is almost as good from the bottom, or the Pinnacles & without the effort

  12. “…ignorant entitled angry old white men…”, here’s a snippet from an Avenue Q song – “everyone’s a little bit racist”! How about we try ‘recalcitrant, overbearing, bitter eternal custodial persons’? Can the problem be seen here by everybody? Those that take can be accused of theft, those that take back can be accused of vigilantism. This split in Australia will never now be fixed – the divisiveness is most definitely now emanating from within the ranks of one group. I ask anyone a simple question, “What do you actually want and what outcome will see you happy?”. Is this outcome achievable? Then ask the ‘other side’ – find a middle ground and MOVE ON.

    • OMG your ridiculous analogy is not even in the same ballpark.
      Where are your “recalcitrant, overbearing, bitter eternal custodial persons”? Heard any comments or seen any posts even remotely resembling anything you describe? When stuff is stolen & returned, that is justice & restitution. At least you recognise the “divisiveness is most definitely now emanating from within the ranks of one group” – the outraged entitled old white folk asked to respect or even consider any other views for just a minute.

  13. I still wonder who it was that went around slashing car tyres in the car park at the bottom of the mountain. It was a set of pointless and idiotic acts, achieving what exactly? Nat See?

    • Thanks for asking Des, obviously it was someone trying to demonstrate their immense strength & persistence don’t you think? Ever tried to slash a tyre?

      Dunno why you’re asking me anyway, but if you looked around where your car was parked, it was probably one of the angry locals who had enough of their access constantly being blocked & mountains of crap constantly deposited on their properties despite the closed carpark & closed road after the summit track was closed. I doubt it’s got anything to do with cultural significance of Wollumbin if that’s what you’re trying to imply. It’s not rocket science. It happens in the city too, & probably in Hollywood where you cousin Leo is.

    • Lol. I reckon it’s someone with no social media accounts to vent their anger. Highlighted the poor NBN cover. That’s what was achieved. They didn’t leave a note as they knew people parked there can’t read and ignore signs anyway.

  14. It seems there is a reason why truth-telling could be a problem. (The reactive, descriptive analogy was to highlight the seemingly racial justifiable commentary used) It seems answering a philosophical question is too hard whilst not recognising a ‘devil’s advocate’ and vigilantism can also be seen as retributive vandalism; Again a question is asked, “What do you want and what outcome will see you happy?” I think the bitterness is obvious, it always was and always will be a poor personal trait. “When stuff is stolen & returned, that is justice & restitution”; what if something is lost and found by others – how much time passes before ownership passes from one to another (there is a place in law for this)? And… whose is what tomorrow – and not yesterday? (“…where you* cousin…” please – I’m sure you’re disappointed in yourself upon reflection).

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