Managing and protecting Waljin Mia (Rainbow Cave): a sacred cultural place

Uncle Wayne Webb examines the damage caused to one of his ancestral sacred places. Image: David Guilfoyle

Uncle Wayne Webb examines the damage caused to one of his ancestral sacred places. Image: David Guilfoyle

Waljin Mia (‘rainbow cave”) is a sacred cultural place for the Wadandi People of  southwestern Australia. The cave is part of a complex cultural landscape.  The Wadandi Elders look after their cultural places as part of their custodial obligations, which include the variety of plants and animals that inhabit these coastal limestone cliffs.

Unfortunately, these places have been desecrated by visitors, campers and tourists, unaware that their actions are causing direct damage to the cultural and ecological values of these caves.  With a small grant from the Western Australian Department of Aboriginal Affairs, the Undalup Association and Wadandi Custodians are working with community archaeologists from Applied Archaeology International to restore the area, and develop a site management plan to bring awareness for the respectful use of cultural heritage places – that includes protecting the habitat of the many birds, animals and plants linked to this ecosystem.

This short video (below) captures some of the on-ground work undertaken by the team to restore the desecrated cave.  In protecting this place, they are upholding their cultural protocols while discussing aspects of the cultural significance of this sacred site: