Rocks of ages re­turned

A lit­tle bit of his­tory could be re­turn­ing to the Mow­bray River, af­ter lo­cal busi­ness owner Si­mon Rogers handed over some indige­nous arte­facts he found while help­ing clear a de­ceased es­tate. Mr Rogers is pic­tured hand­ing back to Kuku Yalanji elder Harold

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Scott Tib­balls

A lit­tle bit of his­tory could be re­turn­ing to the Mow­bray River, af­ter lo­cal busi­ness owner Si­mon Rogers handed over some indige­nous arte­facts he found while help­ing clear a de­ceased es­tate.

The three rocks that were used as tools by indige­nous peo­ple pos­si­bly thou­sands of years ago were found among other rocks and gar­den or­na­ments last year, in what turned out to be a lucky save by Mr Rogers, who op­er­ates Sen­ti­men­tal Sal­vage, a busi­ness ded­i­cated to re­cy­cling use­ful ma­te­ri­als.

He said that if he hadn’t grabbed the arte­facts “they were des­tined for the dump.”

“I saw the stone with the holes in it, and then I looked again and saw the two round ones next to it among other rocks. And I knew they were old and they were carved.

“I just asked the guy who was deal­ing with the de­ceased es­tate if I could take them be­cause I recog­nised them as old arte­facts. And he said yes, and here they are,” he said.

The three rocks have now been handed over to Kuku Yalanji Elder Harold “Mooks” Tay­ley, who ex­plained that two of them would have been used for crush­ing can­dlenut — used for light­ing fires and rock paint­ing, and a third was used for sharp­en­ing spear tips.

Mooks, who is also a se­nior tour guide at the Moss­man Gorge Cen­tre, said “we do have quite a few of these, even where we do out guided walk, we have rocks like these here. (They’re) 30, 40, 50 thou­sand years old.

He said back when rocks like these were in use, the Kuku Yalanji would leave them near where they were used.

“Ev­ery time they came back around again they’d use the same one over the years.”

He said while a de­ci­sion had yet to be made by the Elders, it was likely the three rocks would be re­turned to the Mow­bray River or nearby.

“That’s where they’re from and that’s where they’ll go back to.”

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