Almost 10,000 people have signed a petition to re-open the summit track on Mount Warning (Wollumbin) which has been closed to the general population by local indigenous so-called ‘guardians’ since 2020.

The petition was raised by John Ruddick MP who has been vocal over the hocus pocus inventions of left-wing extremists.”

The 1,156-metre eroded shield volcano in the Northern Rivers region of the Tweed Coast in NSW is a popular destination for hikers and nature enthusiasts.

Some Aboriginals believe it is the place where their creator spirit Nguthungulli, ascended to the sky. Before the ban, 120,000 visitors annually would frequent the mountain’s summit track and its surroundings.

In 2020, the mountain was closed due to COVID protocols but was kept shut post-pandemic by safety concerns and by the Wollumbin Consultative Group, a consortium of Aboriginal elders from the Bundjalung people.

They requested that visitors, including women of indigenous heritage, refrain from climbing it out of respect for their beliefs, saying their presence would negatively impact its cultural significance.

However, NSW Libertarian Party MP John Ruddick has raised a petition to have the mountain reopened to the public and is approaching the 10,000 signatures required to instigate a parliamentary debate.

Mr. Ruddick has been vocal over what he views as the “hocus pocus” inventions of “left-wing extremists” who want to sow the seeds of racial division by keeping the mountain off limits to anyone except male members of the Wollumbin people.

He said he doubted evidence existed that the site was culturally significant to the Bundjalung, and believed the exclusion of park users was a result of extremists exploiting the situation for political gain.

“I am convinced these claims are recent inventions of white left-wing extremists who are exploiting Aborigines and I don’t believe there is any documentary evidence for them.

“If it was sacred, of course, we respect those holy sites and we don’t want to upset people if they have genuine belief in a spiritual thing.”

Mr. Ruddick said the extremists “don’t care about the negative impacts that will have on the Aboriginal people. This is just a tool left-wing white academics use to make Australians feel bad about themselves.”

He compared the current argument with Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock (see above), which closed its summit to public use in 2019.

That’s why we have to push back now because it started with Uluru and now there is this and there will just be more and more. And it’s not helping the Aboriginal people, it is actually making things worse,” he said.

“It means the white academics have got in the ears of some them and the others say this is BS and we are going to publicly call it out as BS. It happens every single time and that shows you how much credibility there is that it is a sacred site.

“Up until this century, there’s not one document from the 19th century or the 20th century of Aborigines saying, ‘This is a sacred mountain, you are not allowed to climb here.”

Despite the ban being supported by the state government, the Wollumbin Consultative Group’s legitimacy to enforce it was questioned by other Aboriginal groups, and in-fighting occurred between the group and the Ngarakbal Githabul and Yoocum Yoocum people – who disputed their claim.

The petition is sponsored, along with Mr. Ruddick, by Marc Hendrickx who in 2023, wrote the book “A Guide to Climbing Mount Warning: The Fight for Awe and Wonder.”

The petition, which has almost reached 10,000 signatures, calls for the reopening of Mt Warning’s summit track so it can be “enjoyed by all, regardless of race or gender.”

On this year’s Australia Day, for the second year in a row, Mr. Hendrickx was joined by Ngarakbal elder Sturt Boyd on the summit in an act of defiance of the ban.

This was despite the presence of security guards who, between April and October 2023, cost the taxpayer $7,000 per week to prevent people from climbing the mountain.

In a post on his book’s website, Mr Hendrickx (pictured below) claims the Ngarakwal “have the closest connection to the mountain.”

Speaking on radio station 2GB, Mr. Hendrickx echoed the thoughts of Mr. Ruddick saying, “This is a chance to say ‘No’ to division in our national parks.”

“We want to put the pressure on Penny Sharpe [NSW Minister of Environment] to inject some commonsense into this and reopen this mountain right now.

“It is a complete farce they have closed the mountain over this COVID period and it looks like it will never be opened again unless we raise our voices.”

In addressing the group’s concerns, Ms. Sharpe, via a spokesperson said the minister “has met with and will continue to meet with a range of stakeholders to work through the issues with Wollumbin.”

Hope springs eternal, but knowing how these matters are resolved these days, we will need more than just a little hope.

If you want Mt. Warning and other similar sites to be open to everyone and not just those of a certain race and gender you can sign the petition here:

Thanks to Jim Birchall writing for The Epoch Times and Dean Alston Cartoons