Largest KFC on a significant Aboriginal heritage site


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Artefacts found at the KFC site during the dig included blades, an anvil and scrapers.

Newcastle Herald 21 May, 2011

Australia's largest KFC restaurant stands above one of the country's most significant Aboriginal heritage sites in Newcastle West, a new archaeological report has revealed.

The former Palais night spot site contains carbon-dated evidence of Aboriginal occupation dating back between 6716 and 6502 years - the oldest evidence of human settlement in Newcastle.

But the final excavation report, which rates the site as having "high to exceptional cultural and scientific significance" was only completed this month, even though the KFC building was built about a year ago.

"Are we just documenting these sites so we can destroy them later?" University of Newcastle Coal River Working Party chairman Gionni DiGravio said yesterday.

"Aboriginal archaeology is not given any importance, which I find amazing. This material is as significant as anything you would find in Europe."

The Hunter Street site was excavated following the demolition of the Palais in 2008.

Items found at the site include more than 5700 stone tools and campsite remains.

"Few open sites in the local, regional or national contexts retain a large artefactual assemblage within a well-dated chronological soil profile," the report says.

The Newcastle Herald has previously reported that the site also contains a treasure trove of colonial-era artefacts.

The $2.5 million development was approved on the basis that it met all necessary heritage assessments.

"We have been engaging with the Awabakal people for over a year in regards to the site and how to honour the people and the artefacts," a KFC Australia spokesman said yesterday.

But Awabakal clan descendants said yesterday the report highlighted the lack of rigour in the state government's assessment of Aboriginal heritage.

"There's not much you can do about it now, but where are the regulations that protect culture and heritage?" Shane Frost said.

"No one would have guessed that amount of cultural heritage items would be found there."

Kerrie Brauer said the approval was disappointing.

"It doesn't give us much confidence with future developments in Newcastle," she said.

"The medical centre next door didn't have an investigation because they said there was nothing there."

The KFC Australia spokesman said a representation of the indigenous connection to the site would be incorporated into the restaurant.

"We are working towards having a graphic representation of the Awabakal people in the restaurant as well as donating recovered artefacts to a university."

KFC Aboriginal artefact loss an act of 'genocide'

Ben Smee Newcastle Herald 23 May, 2011
Australia's largest KFC restaurant was built on one of the country's most significant Aboriginal heritage sites in Newcastle West.

The destruction of Aboriginal heritage in NSW has been labelled "cultural genocide" by an indigenous activist who says permits to build on significant historical sites are granted almost daily.

Al Oshlack, from the Indigenous Justice Advocacy Network, has expressed his dismay after reading the Herald report.

He said his network had taken more than 100 cases to court to protect significant Aboriginal sites.

"We estimate that [in recent years] over 2500 Aboriginal sites have been destroyed," Mr Oshlack said.

"Aboriginal Heritage Impact Permits [authorising works on culturally-significant sites] are given to 250 sites a year."

The Newcastle West site was excavated before being developed, but an archaeological report has only just shed light on the significance of the artefacts found.

Mr Oshlack said the tiny "microlith" tools found displayed outstanding stonework. Items found at the site include more than 5700 stone tools and campsite remains.

They are believed to date back between 6716 and 6502 years.

"Even in European terms, these artefacts are museum pieces," Mr Oshlack said.

He said the development of the site was a tragedy.

"It's not just a challenge between development and Aboriginal heritage," he said.

"There are so many sites where the impacts of development could have been lessened so that Aboriginal heritage could be saved.

"Had they known, they could have saved it and preserved it for future generations and built a KFC somewhere else. KFC would not go bankrupt if they had to build somewhere else."

He said the pieces should be given to the Awabakal community.

(Edited)

Comments

These KFC responses here:

These KFC responses here:

The KFC Australia spokesman said a representation of the indigenous connection to the site would be incorporated into the restaurant. "We are working towards having a graphic representation of the Awabakal people in the restaurant as well as donating recovered artefacts to a university."

I mean I'm sorry I laughed, it's so absurd it could be a joke. Just absolutely PATHETIC.
"But we're gonna put up some pictures of Awabakals inside the KFC, isn't that good enough? Oh and by the way we'll give your artifacts away to someone else as well. SEE HOW SENSITIVE WE ARE?

what is wrong with the world, a million and one things

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