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
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.”