NT govt eyes off sacred site for water park

Stokes Hill Wharf, Darwin.

A sacred site in Darwin is part of a parcel of land being examined by the Northern Territory Government for a tourist water park in a feasibility study that is costing taxpayers half a million dollars.

The Larrakia site at Stokes Hill is registered with the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority.

Larrakia Development Corporation chief executive Nigel Browne said it was a recognised dreaming site.

The Larrakias’ ancestor, the ChinuteChinute, dwells there and is said to sometimes take the form of a Tawny Frog Mouthed Owl.

“It’s been a Larrakia site forever and a day and is one of the few that remain on the Darwin side of Darwin Harbour,” Mr Browne said.

“Most of the ceremony sites have been bulldozed or cemented over and erased.”

Mr Browne said the LDC had hoped an area near the site could be used for a cultural centre.

“We’ve identified a spot where we have a vision to build a community and cultural centre,” he said.

He said none of the nine major Larrakia families were happy about the water park proposal.

“If there is one issue that will bring together all of our mob, it will be this,” he said.

“If the government thinks it is okay to deal away Aboriginal sacred sites to private interests, it should sound warning bells for all other Aboriginal groups in the Northern Territory.”

NT Environment minister Lauren Moss was not available for comment.

A $500,000 feasibility study is currently underway.

Wendy Caccetta

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