On-Country Knowledge Session Highlights Cultural Significance of Waniellup Cliffs

On-Country Knowledge Session Highlights Cultural Significance of Waniellup Cliffs

The Shire, together with Traditional Custodians and community stakeholders, recently gathered for a special On-Country Knowledge Session to learn about the cultural significance of the Waniellup (Wallcliffe) Cliffs and Caves.

The awareness initiative follows Council’s decision to remove all climbing bolts from the cliff face and limit access to the cliff area in a response to protect and restore the cultural and spiritual value of the site to the Wadandi Saltwater people. 

Traditional Custodian Iszaac Webb, explained to local climbers, caving groups, recreational users and tourist operators on the day, why limiting access to the area is so important for the local Wadandi community. 

Waniellup Caves connects the Wadandi people with the songline that runs down to Lake Jasper. It connects to the ocean, it connects to the fish, and so much more. It connects the story of the Mudlark bird and talks of spirits coming to Country.

Waniell (Waniellup) means sadness or sorrow about death, and to the Wadandi people this is a special place of rest – a dying place.

These cliffs and caves have been climbed on for many years now and can no longer cope with increasing pressure. Now, this site needs time to heal from being overused. Through healing and respect, our goal is to help the community understand their own connection with this special place. As the Wadandi Saltwater People say, "we want you to love it to life not love it to death.” 

The project is about collaboratively working together to respectfully care for country and avoid further environmental degradation. The Shire recognises the competing interests surrounding this site and would like to thank the recreational users and commercial operators who have supported our efforts to date to protect the natural environment and values of the Wadandi Saltwater People.

Community members are encouraged to enjoy the beauty of the area from afar to ensure the protection of this significant cultural site.

Skywalker Rope Access, the project’s contractor, will begin removing bolts in May this year. Revegetation and rehabilitation work for the areas around the Cliffs, riverbank and connecting trails will be undertaken as part of the planned retreat. Climbing and caving groups are encouraged to enjoy other climbing sites in the region, including the Wilyabrup and Bob’s Hollow areas.
17 Apr 2023 Topic Type
General News
Margaret River
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