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17 March 2004
Ancient Aboriginal rock art defaced

Ancient Aboriginal rock art at Ubirr in Kakadu (Australia) - believed to be up to 25,000 years old - has  been defaced by visitors. National Parks director Peter Cochrane said there had been many incidents of damage to rock art at Ubirr. "There has been defacing of the rock art," he said. "That has involved some level of graffiti."
Mr Cochrane said investigations suggested the damage had been done by people brought into the park by tour operators. "The great majority of tour operators behave responsibly and the situation is improving," he said. "However, there are a small number of operators who do give us problems from time to time." He said other instances of tour operator misbehaviour included a visitor found in banned sacred sites at Koolpin Gorge and a German tourist killed by a 4.6m crocodile after being told it was safe to swim by her tour guide.
Mr Cochrane said the damage was a consequence of up to 160,000 people visiting the park each year. "There is always going to be some kind of tail end of people who don't show or feel the same sort of respect that the vast majority do," he said. Since the graffiti incident, park staff are always at Ubirr when the site is opened.

Source: Northern Territory News (17 March 2004)

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