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Hand prints found near Glenbrook train station that an expert said were Indigenous and "culturally significant" have been exposed as fakes created by teenage brothers in the 1960s.
The rock art was discovered during work to remove a 20-tonne boulder which threatened the Blue Mountains railway line in late March. It extended the weeks of delays on the train line as buses replaced services.
An archaeologist, with a specialty in Indigenous heritage, said at the time that the multiple red hand prints were "culturally significant".
But in a letter obtained by the Gazette last week, a non- Indigenous man said he created the artwork 50 years ago. He and his brothers were paying homage to local Indigenous culture and he was now keen to "set the record straight".
The man, who lives in the Riverina region and has asked not to be identified, wrote the letter to Indigenous elders, including Gundungurra elder, Aunty Sharyn Halls, and it has been passed along to local historians and the Australian Museum.
In the letter he admits to creating the cave hand prints as a 13 or 14-year-old with his siblings in about 1969. He apologised for the "fuss".
"We loved Aboriginal culture and history and making the handprints was just another of our activities which imitated their culture," he writes.
"We ground some local red sandstone to make powder, mixed it with our saliva, rubbed it on our hands and simply stamped them onto the cave wall. I was amazed an expert did not realise they were not genuine as we did not stencil them, as Aboriginals would have, we just stamped them. We were not keen about putting the mix in our mouths, so we just rubbed it on our hands."
This article first appeared on www.bluemountainsgazette.com.au
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