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Rock Art Destroyed at Australia’s Baloon Cave

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Australia Baloon Rock ArtCENTRAL QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA—ABC Australia reports that ancient rock art at eastern Australia’s Carnarvon National Park was destroyed in 2018 when a walkway made of recycled plastic exploded during a bushfire. “Unfortunately, that’s sort of like solidified petroleum, and if you have a hot fire underneath it, it melts and then it just explodes into a ball of flame and that’s exactly what happened,” said Paul Taçon of Griffith University. Pieces of rock sloughed off Baloon Cave’s walls, along with the artwork, which included ancient handprints and more recent images. Dale Harding, a member of the Baloon Cave working group, called the lost artwork a link between generations of Bidjara, Ghungalu, and Garingbal people. Taçon suggests that only steel, or concrete and steel, be used to construct walkways at Australia’s cultural heritage sites. Government officials continue to review such structures. To read about rock art in Australia's Northern Territory, go to "Off the Grid: Kakadu National Park."

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