Work has begun to remove the structures from the Sandon Point Tent Embassy site at McCauley’s Beach.
The Sandon Point Aboriginal Place Joint Management Agreement has called on Council to remove the buildings from the site – with the exception of the one known as ‘The Pod’.
The removal of structures relates to environmental and cultural rehabilitation. For safety reasons, Council says the occupant has been asked to leave while these works take place.
“Representatives from the Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council and NSW Office of Environment and Heritage will be present while the work is carried out,” says the Council statement.
This work follows the placing of non-permanent fencing around sections of the site earlier this month at the request of the Sandon Point Aboriginal Place Joint Management Agreement partner organisations to protect the area, and continues the work started in April to make changes at the site.
A Council spokesperson says the agreement partners include the Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council and four local Aboriginal community organisations.
“The Sandon Point site is a dedicated Aboriginal Place and one of very few in our State. Council continues to acknowledge the cultural significance of the Sandon Point – McCauley’s Beach Aboriginal Place and the important role of the Sandon Point Joint Management Agreement Partner organisations.”
The tent embassy has been in place since 2000 following the discovery of an aboriginal burial ground nearby. It was set up to block the development of the land but in recent years has been the source of controversy between local Aboriginal stakeholders.
It’s hoped the removal of the buildings Council believes to be illegally constructed after 2016 will make way for a formalised ‘Keeping Place’