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MHS Library | Issues

This is Australia's heritage

There is more to the debate on Rio Tinto's destruction of the rock shelters in Juukan Gorge ("Rio Tinto rocked on blast bungle", The Age, 6/6) than whether it was legal or ethical or possible to stop. The known artefacts have been saved but their significant context of place is gone forever.

Rio Tinto's legal blasting of the shelters despite their acknowledged significance to the traditional owners and to Australia symbolises the ongoing disconnect between the values placed on Australia's European past and on what came before.

Whose heritage is this? It is definitely the heritage of the PKKP linking today's people with those who used the shelters over thousands of years, but it is all of Australia's heritage too.

Our weak, often token, heritage legislation and obsession with using this land as a huge quarry for the rest of the world speak volumes about how we as a country have failed to value and protect our unique Indigenous and natural heritage.

As caretakers we should be ashamed that this could happen and did happen. Nothing will bring this back.

Lesley Walker, Chewton (The Age)

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Expecting more of the PM

After reading George Megalogenis' article ("PM's problem hiding in plain sight?", The Age, 6/6) regarding Rio Tinto's destruction of 46,000-year-old caves in the Pilbara, when Scott Morrison was asked about the incident, his response was, "I haven't got a brief on that particular project or the circumstances surrounding it."

One would think the Prime Minister of Australia would or should be well informed about this extremely important Indigenous site.

Greg Bardin, Altona North

Would there be any "misunderstanding" if St Paul's Cathedral sat on iron ore?

Bernd Rieve, Brighton (The Age)

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