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Contemporary Nyungah Views on the “Owl Stone”

(Based on consultations with Nyungar Elders/ Traditional Owners in Oct-Nov 2008)

The Elders views are presented here verbatim in order to convey their true feelings and concerns about the “owl stone” site at Red Hill which they wanted recorded and registered at the Department of Indigenous Affairs as a site of spiritual and cultural significance to them.

‘Why is it that the wadjela [white man] wants us to prove that our Ancestors lived on this land, had ceremonies and made this land live for thousands of years. We know their story – it’s written all over this land. You wadjelas can’t see it ‘cause all you can see is the money you’re going to make from our Spiritual Dreaming.’

‘It’s such a spiritual place to us. We don’t know how to explain it whitefella way, you just feel it all over your body and you know that ‘the old people’ are here.’

‘We knew before we saw it that there was something waiting for us. We could feel it.’

‘The Standing Stone has been there since the beginning of time.’

‘I am part of the Spiritual Dreaming when it begun.’

‘This place is important to us. You can feel it all around. We knew it was here because we saw the engravings over there at Boral’s. They were pointing over here. We knew it was pointing to something really important.’

‘There will be other “pointers” all up the valley to mark the way for the ‘old fellas’ coming down from the east. All along the old trails there would be markers for this one and other places of importance along the way.’

‘When I first saw the stones, it felt like I had found something which had been lost. It was like I had found a piece of a jigsaw that had been missing. You know the feeling you get when you find something that once belonged to you’.

‘This is a very important site to our ancestors here. You can feel ‘the old people’ walking around here.’

‘It’s like an older brother, this stone. It will not harm you but will protect you from danger as long as you respect him. I feel really calm here.’

‘These old sites are not lost. They’re being looked after by ‘the old people’ [ancestors] who have been waiting for us to come and take over from them. If I close my eyes, I can see ‘the old people’ sitting down smiling at us, happy that we’re here.’

‘You gotta record this place for the Nyungar people. It’s a big place for heritage and culture.’

‘That old owl is sitting there watching everything. That bird can see a long way and knows everything that happens.’

‘That owl has been there for thousands of years and now it’s just sitting there everyday watching the quarry getting closer and closer.’

‘If there is blasting or machine movements anywhere near there the vibrations of that Ground could unsettle what Nature has allowed to stand there all these years since the Beginning of Time.’

‘The underground vibrations of when they started blasting could unsettle the Stone standing there. It could fall and be destroyed forever.’

‘The standing stone is not like a seed of a plant or a tree that you could replant. It must be protected.’

‘Our sacred sites have been there forever. What gives a white man the right to destroy something so old and sacred.’

‘That old owl is a living stone to us. We can feel its spirit giving life.’

‘Can’t you feel the sacredness of that stone. You don’t need to touch it; just being near it is enough.’

‘That stone is so spiritual that it talks to me in my sleep.’

‘Whitefellas have destroyed our Bible and now they want to crush the last stone of our cathedral.’

Note This is an excerpt from the anthropological survey by McIntyre and Dobson. Click here to download a copy.
This information is provided without prejudice by the Swan Valley Nyungah Community Aboriginal Corporation 2009, and is intended to be as accurate as possible.