Excavation Permit withdrawn.

The Shoalhaven City Council voted in April 2022 not to allow an Excavation Permit to be used on the Church Site. The owner of the Church and Burial Site has now obtained another permit to allow excavation. The permit was issued by the Heritage Council of NSW, dated 31/8/22.

I’ve been hanging around this place now for quite some time. And I still don’t understand the mechanism that allows a state government department to issue that permit without any call into Shoalhaven City Council. They have no real process that says that they must do consultation that’s meaningful. And you know what; they don’t do that meaningful consultation… but I think that somebody needs to be held to account and I think that the only way that we can hold them to account is by starting on this heritage journey.

Mayor Amanda Findley speaking to her Mayoral Minute September 20, 2022

From SCC Agenda for Meeting November 14.


JLALC Statement 27/9/22

We had hoped that why the Hunter Geophysics GPR returned a much higher result would be looked at more critically.
Maybe it’s because this is one of the nation’s leading grave detection experts not a dial-before-you-dig exercise. Maybe it’s because the study area was, for the first time, the entire site.
The holes in the logic appear when the developer himself states the 7 burials identified in the original GPRs won’t be desecrated.
So GPR is a valid methodology, providing its results aren’t too inconvenient?
Regardless of whether we are talking 7 graves or 70 our position is unchanged: this whole debacle is distressing and offensive, and we will do everything in our power to fight this plan and ensure the resting place of our ancestors and those buried across the site is respected.
To achieve this we have lodged another Federal protection application to try and stop the burial ground desecration. We are grateful to have the support of the majority of Shoalhaven City Councillors, who voted last Tuesday night to support our application and who are also attempting to have the site heritage listed.
As quoted in the article, we say again, it is disrespectful that Heritage NSW granted a permit to scrape the burials, given the extreme cultural sensitivity. What they call verification we call desecration. Just like last time Heritage NSW didn’t have the decency to consult us prior to issuing a permit.
We of course appreciate that community sentiment about the site is strong, and that especially if it looks as though work may start, that the JLALC block is likely to become the focus point of community action and resistance. It is critical that any such activity is done with the prior consent of our Board and Elders, and most importantly has no impact on any potential burials on site.
Our ranger team will be on site over the coming days to cordon off sensitive areas and we ask the Aboriginal and broader community to please respect this before entering the site.


Jerrinja Local Aboriginal Land Council Statement 27/9/22 @JerrinjaCountry