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‘Appalling’: Five words carved into sacred site

Vandals have carved
Vandals have carved ‘Jesus Saves’ into a rock of significance to the indigenous people of Mt Beerwah. Picture: DFES

Vandals have destroyed a significant site to First Nations people, defacing a rock millions of years old and located within a Queensland national park.

Glass House Mountains National Park rangers discovered the “appalling” scene at the base of Mt Beerwah, near Brisbane, on the morning of May 20.

The mountain holds significant cultural value to the local Indigenous community, the Jinibara People.

Senior ranger Nat Smith said he and his colleagues believe the vandals visited the site under a cover of darkness and used a power tool to grind the words “Jesus Saves Just Ask Him” into the stone.

“Regardless of what it says, the graffiti is a terrible act,” Mr Smith said.

Vandals have carved "Jesus Saves" into a rock with significance to the indigenous people of Mt Beerwah. Picture: DFES
Vandals have carved ‘Jesus Saves Just Ask Him’ into a rock with significance to the Jinibara People. Picture: DES

“It looks clumsy and awful, and rangers and the community take a zero-tolerance approach to offences like this in our national parks.”

He condemned the actions of the vandals, saying they show a “lack of respect” for the traditional owners of the land and the environment.

“It is difficult to understand the mindset of the people who did this and the lack of respect they have for the natural and cultural values of the national park,” Mr Smith said.

Vandals have carved "Jesus Saves" into a rock with significance to the indigenous people of Mt Beerwah. Picture: DFES
Rangers believe vandals defaced the rock at the base of Mt Beerwah on May 20. Picture: DES
Vandals have carved "Jesus Saves" into a rock with significance to the indigenous people of Mt Beerwah. Picture: DFES
A power tool was likely used to carve deep into the rock. Picture: DES

“To have it defaced like this is appalling.”

The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) is investigating the vandalism and will work with the Jinibara people to help minimise the long-term visual damage to the rock.

They are asking for the public’s assistance to help identify the people responsible for the act.

Vandals have carved "Jesus Saves" into a rock with significance to the indigenous people of Mt Beerwah. Picture: DFES
Senior ranger Nat Smith said the act showed a lack of respect for the traditional owners. Picture: DES
Vandals have carved "Jesus Saves" into a rock with significance to the indigenous people of Mt Beerwah. Picture: DFES
The vandal could be facing a massive penalty in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Picture: DES

“This vandalism is deliberate and destructive; someone in the community will know who did it,” Mr Smith said.

“The rock has been here for millions of years; environmental vandalism in our national parks is extremely disappointing.”

Anyone found to have committed such an offence could be liable for a hefty penalty totalling more than $500,000.

Vandals have carved "Jesus Saves" into a rock with significance to the indigenous people of Mt Beerwah. Picture: DFES
Anyone with information is urged to contact authorities. Picture: DFES

It is a serious offence under the Nature Conservation Act 1992, carrying a maximum penalty of $431,250 or two years’ imprisonment.

An additional penalty of up to $132,750 is possible under second offences outlined in the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003.

They could also be responsible for paying the tens of thousands of dollars it could cost to rehabilitate the site.

Anyone with information can call the Department of Environment and science on (07) 5494 3983 or make an anonymous call on 1300 130 372.