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Chockstone Forum - General Discussion

General Climbing Discussion

 Page 1 of 3. Messages 1 to 20 | 21 to 40 | 41 to 51
Author
Help keep access to The Balkans open

shay
15/07/2009
9:16:29 AM
Hi All,

Not many people would be aware that the Bidjigal (formerly Excelsior) Reserve Trust is planning to develop a Plan of Management (POM) for Bidjigal Reserve. The reserve is also home to the most popular bouldering areas in Sydney, collectively known as The Balkans.

My boyfriend and I were bouldering at Frontline yesterday morning when we came across two cultural/aboriginal heritage consultants inspecting the little cave under Paratroopin'. They told us of the proposed POM for the reserve and the pending outdoor adventure development that will affect both Frontline and the Trenches.

Coincidently, a member of the Trust, Wendy Goonan, was also there and she gave us some more information on the future plans for the area. She was aware that the reserve is frequented by boulderers on a regular basis, and consultants hired to prepare the POM will talk to all park users (this includes us) to determine impacts on the park. She indicated that our access to the area for bouldering is currently NOT under threat. The Trust didnít want to exclude any recreational users, but she was concerned about liability issues. The Trust is recognising climbers as formal users of the park and we will be consulted during the development of the POM.

The heritage consultants have identified the area underneath Paratroopin and Pockets of Resistance as a significant cultural site, one of many areas scattered along the creek line, and future access to these climbs are uncertain until the study and management recommendations are finalised.

To help keep access to the Balkans open, please act responsibly when at the crags and minimise your impact. This means taking all rubbish with you, staying on established tracks, scrub excess chalk off holds, being respectful to residents and flora and fauna. Please do not introduce unnecessary rubbish such as mattresses to the crags. It would be a great loss to the climbing community if we lost access to these areas.

I have given the Trust the web address for ACA and also my personal email. They will contact us when the POM is under way. Iíll post information as they come to hand.

Keep crankiní.

Sheila Binegas

evanbb
15/07/2009
9:28:37 AM
Thanks for the heads up Shay. I love the Frontline, and miss it dearly after moving south. Would be beurocracy gone mad if they excluded climbers from the area.

kuu
15/07/2009
11:03:24 AM
On 15/07/2009 shay wrote:
>Hi All,
>
>Not many people would be aware that the Bidjigal (formerly Excelsior)
>Reserve Trust is planning to develop a Plan of Management (POM) for Bidjigal
>Reserve. The reserve is also home to the most popular bouldering areas
>in Sydney, collectively known as The Balkans.
>

Hi Sheila,

Thanks for alerting us to this development.

I've sent an email to you at hotmail.

Cheers,

Kevin

Duncan
15/07/2009
2:14:02 PM
>Coincidently, a member of the Trust, Wendy Goonan, was also there and she gave us some more >information on the future plans for the area. She was aware that the reserve is frequented by >boulderers on a regular basis, and consultants hired to prepare the POM will talk to all park users >(this includes us) to determine impacts on the park. She indicated that our access to the area for >bouldering is currently NOT under threat. The Trust didnít want to exclude any recreational users, >but she was concerned about liability issues. The Trust is recognising climbers as formal users of >the park and we will be consulted during the development of the POM.

Good to see. I was there a few months back when a council ranger visited. He stomped up to the cold ashes of an obviously old fire, scowled, and asked us if we lit it. We politely indicated that we had not. He was clearly not well disposed to climbers, which may or may not have been why he stamped on a gum tree seedling as he left.

kuu
15/07/2009
2:24:19 PM
On 15/07/2009 Duncan wrote:
>
>Good to see. I was there a few months back when a council ranger visited.
> He stomped up to the cold ashes of an obviously old fire, scowled, and
>asked us if we lit it. We politely indicated that we had not. He was
>clearly not well disposed to climbers, which may or may not have been why
>he stamped on a gum tree seedling as he left.
>
"He was clearly not well disposed to climbers" -- So, do climbers have a PR problem? Or is it Council
Rangers who need the Spin Doctors?

I suspect a bit of both.
widewetandslippery
15/07/2009
2:36:59 PM
Sheila. Thanks for the info. Trenches car parking is in a public carpark, the frontline however is access from a public street. Could NIMBY locals be angry with things like parking problems? A 20 year resident with no climbing interest would most likely have the veiw "there was no climbing when we moved here, its not like I bought next to a pub" attitude. Councils are employed/only interested in local rate payers. Could the indidgenous card be a smoke screen for a different interest?

StuE
15/07/2009
2:45:46 PM
From what I've seen, the fires have mostly been lit by local kids camping out there under the roof and around the warm up bloc. I was walking in a while ago as a dishevelled bunch of teenagers clutching sleeping bags were walking out leaving the smoking embers of a fire behind them along with a few empty beer bottles for good measure.

The Frontline is has gotten noticeably more abuse in the last few years. Bouldering is getting more popular and the Frontline particularly appears to have bourne the brunt of this, receiving more pressure than many other venues. This has resulted in alot more chalk plastered everywhere and more trash left lying around. Folk do need to be aware that this is not going unnoticed and should always clean up after themselves. People also need to broaden their horizons and a realise there are heaps of blocs all over Sydney with awesome problems. Not wishing to be seen as telling people what to do, I propose that maybe its worth digging out the guide or having a look online and give some thought to visiting a different venue rather than hitting the Frontline every weekend.
Guniea Sauras Rex
15/07/2009
3:15:24 PM
>Councils are employed/only interested in local rate payers

Hey! No we're not. Councils do a lot for the community in general - whether rate payers or no.

Councils do a lot of social work - mostly with people who aren't rate payers or get rate discounts e.g youth, disadvantaged, elderly

Ok, so some people require spin doctors, but generally council people try to do a good job

shay
15/07/2009
3:23:47 PM
I did a bit of research when I got home and found the following on the Australian Government Natural Resource Management (NRM) website:

"The Bidjigal Reserve Trust was formed to manage Bidjigal Reserve. The Trust was set up after descendants of the Darug people lodged a claim for a role in managing part of Excelsior Reserve."

The Trust who manages the reserve is made up of a collection of people that includes indigenious members, local residents and other stakeholders. I think Wendy herself is a resident. Frontline can get very busy at times, but it seems the residents are tolerant of us climbing there (?). I think Council are no longer involved in managing the reserve and the Trust has replaced them as the land managers.

kuu
15/07/2009
4:08:34 PM
On 15/07/2009 widewetandslippery wrote:
>Could NIMBY locals
>be angry with things like parking problems?

This can always be a problem. Consider the Centennial Glen Road issues with a certain 'local'
resident.

> Could the indidgenous
>card be a smoke screen for a different interest?
>
Dave, I think we'll see the "Indigenous Card" played more and more often as we go forward. However, I
don't believe it is necessarily or purely a 'smoke screen'. Sure there is often some manouevering going
on as the various stakeholders vie to claim the winner's position and the outcome that best serves
their interests, but hey, some of those stakeholders have suffered a long history of disadvantage.
Climbers just need to understand where they fit into this 'mess' and work to achieve an equitable result
that reflects the legitimacy of their activiies.

contactgav
15/07/2009
9:44:11 PM
excuse my lack of knowledge, but what is a Plan of Management?

if they go down the line of aboriginal hertiage, i'll be calling BS.
i have never seen one down there, so how could it be of cultural significance.

the same could be said about beaches, i grew up at a local beach and it provided me and many others some vrey special moments and was a place of signifacnce for us. but that still didb't stop them redeveloping the land. now if it were a aboriginal site, it wouldn't of happened. why is aboriginal history mean more than the white fella's???

porkpie
15/07/2009
10:04:26 PM
I agree with Old fella. I have seen hundreds of boulderers at Frontline in my time but not one single Aboriginal. I think the cultural heritage of the area is the modern history of bouldering not some unfounded claim of secret womens (or mens) business of thousands of years ago.

I can assure you there are areas of real Aboriginal cultural heritage all over the foreshores of the city but no one is closing access to the Circular Quay or Manly Beach. It is just we climbers are easy targets and it will make the council look PC if they play the Aboriginal card.
Duncan
15/07/2009
11:07:56 PM
On 15/07/2009 shay wrote:
> She indicated that our access
>to the area for bouldering is currently NOT under threat. The Trust didnít
>want to exclude any recreational users.

Just thought I'd quote that.

nmonteith
15/07/2009
11:17:27 PM
On 15/07/2009 oldfella wrote:
>i have never seen one down there, so how could it be of cultural significance.
snip
>why is aboriginal
>history mean more than the white fella's???

Because they were there for thousands of years - whilst the bouldering generation have been there for less than 20 years. A mere blip in the wider scheme of things. Just because right at this very minute you don't see anyone doesn't mean it isn't significant. As you stated so well 99% of their land in Sydney has already been bulldozed, developed and desecrated on, so a little bit of land of their own is certainly deserving.

contactgav
16/07/2009
12:39:16 AM
heard of utilitarism?

how is it that an area, visited by climbers from all over the world be deemed less significant than an area that doesn't get visited by people who live in the surrounding areas.. the same people who claim it is significant.

if they had art work and visited the area on a regular basis, i could agree with your view point.
but the fact is that it hasn't held any significance over the last 10years, this being in the way of aboriginies visiting the area or holding ceremonies etc. So even if they did sit under paratroopin many many years ago doesn't make it any more signifcant than the area as bouldering venue for the climbing community.

what gives their memories / stories of the area a greater importantance that of the memories / stories of climbers who visit the area.
i've taken both my sons down there, watched them get into climbing and learning about not just climbing, but the environment, animals and social intereactment.

you must agree that as a climbing area, society and people will benefit more than making it an area where no one visits, not even those who claim 'it is theirs'.

playing devil's advocate that climbing is banned.

nmonteith
16/07/2009
8:54:18 AM
I don't try and think I understand the aboriginal culture as I was not born into it. I'm sure it isn't just about painting in caves and holding 'ceremonies'. I do know that they treat the concept of land and ownership very differently to the western world. To them the land itself is a from of god, rather than the western view of a 'guy in the sky' god. Once we have moved in it's pretty hard to make us move out as they are vastly in the minority. I do find that some people are quite alarmist when it comes to Aboriginal land claims, but the same people would be incredibly protective of a piece of land they own themselves. Would these people be happy for others to randomly turn up and camp in their backyard, remove vegetation, yell a lot and then leave again.

p.s. - My comments above are not regarding this bouldering site in general, but are talking about the concept of aboriginal land claims.

Superstu
16/07/2009
9:01:44 AM
for indigenous australians today finding and preserving links to their heritage is vitally important, be it a painting, engraving or canoe tree, a ceremony or practice, or simply a place known for previous occupation. it allows a sense of connection, pride & belonging.

if we can learn one thing from the stolen generation episode, loosing that sense of identity contributes to the many social problems experienced by indigenous australians today, resulting in poor socio-economic positions and much disadvantage.

for the suburbanites who currently live nearby, they can become aware and learn about aboriginal culture from their area, such as common gathering areas where camping, cooking or ceremonies occured. Surely the community as a whole is richer with that knowledge and heritage... Its one thing to open a book and read about it, but to be able to visit an area where someone camped, cooked and lived is much more wonderful.

StuE
16/07/2009
9:48:19 AM
I'm not saying its the case here, but there seem to be an awful lot of 'knee-jerk' decisions with the intention of preserving any area an indigenous australian once farted in. And alot is also taken on trust with very little proof. My line of work makes me a bit cynical when I hear these claims, esp if there is money involved. The Aboriginal Heritage Act has made it easy to make a financial gains in certain situations. For exmaple, a utilities company needs access to a piece of land. The local tribe then claim some historical or spiritual tie to the land and the company then ends up paying to access the area. In any other instance a party claiming ownership would have to show proof of this but it seems that 100 odd years of guilt means a claim of 'this was once a gathering area' are accepted without question.

contactgav
16/07/2009
10:54:07 AM
On 16/07/2009 nmonteith wrote:
> I do know that they treat the concept of land and ownership
>very differently to the western world. To them the land itself is a from
>of god, rather than the western view of a 'guy in the sky' god. >
>p.s. - My comments above are not regarding this bouldering site in general,
>but are talking about the concept of aboriginal land claims.

if it is a god, why don't they invest in looking after it.
i don't see any aboriginal groups proactive in the the conservation movement, i don't see them organising clean up australia day, i don't see them establishing museums, cultural centres educating the rest of the australian community of their lifestyle and links to the land.

don't say that they are not in a position to do this. they get more than enough funding from te government. the maoris have done it well in New zealand.
i remember going to watch a hangi as young kid on a family holiday. along with loads of Maori visitor centres on both islands.

where is the effort from the aboriginals in educating the tourists about their culture.
can any one tell me where in Sydney people and go and learn about the aborigines?
i'm not refferring to libraries, but some thing like the Sydney Aquarium or Powerhouse Museum.


if the Koori community were out educating the masses about 'their land & lifestyle' in a serious and organised manner, perhaps the greater public wouldn't be so cynical.


contactgav
16/07/2009
10:56:40 AM
Redfern doesn't count either..

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There are 51 messages in this topic.

 

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