Clarence Valley’s mayor, Richie Williamson, officially opened improvements to the viewing area at one of Maclean’s natural landmarks, The Pinnacles, on Thursday July 21.
The council has constructed a new walkway and public viewing area at the Wharf Street site, which looks out over the Pinnacle rock formation – regarded as a highly significant cultural heritage site by the local Aboriginal community – and the Clarence River.
Mayor Williamson thanked the Yaegl people and Maclean Landcare for their cooperation and work on the project.
“Access to the viewing area has always been rough and dangerous,” he said.
“The improvements we unveiled today make it much more accessible and much more attractive for visitors.
“We have had overwhelming support for this work.”
The Maclean Lookout plan of management (2005), which includes The Pinnacles, states that “local Aboriginal community lived in the lookout area until after the turn of the century, living in gunyahs (that were of similar construction as those noted by Flinders at Yamba) or rock shelters”.
“The Lookout area was not used for hunting, instead the women collected eggs and fish from the swamp and the men hunted on the floodplain in the Edwards Creek area (McSwan 1992).
“Edwards Creek was a popular place for swimming and social gathering.
“Auntie Annie Randall (nee Cameron) was born adjacent to the Lookout in 1901 and families lived there until they were relocated to Ulgundahi Island in 1904.
“Contemporary Aboriginal cultural values of Maclean Lookout include conservation of natural attributes, including vegetation, soil, harvesting bush tucker and conservation of cultural heritage.”
The area was gazetted as public recreation reserve in 1972.
A detailed design was completed by Steve Gorrell.
Funding was allocated from the Clarence Coast Reserve Trust for the upgrade of the viewing area and was included in Clarence Valley Council’s 2015/16 operational plan.
Work on the upgrade was completed by the council’s construction team.
Contractor Peter Maddocks completed the stone work.
Annie Stanton designed the interpretative signage, with input from Yaegl Elder Elizabeth Smith and artwork by Charlene Williams.
The council’s Maclean open spaces town team, assisted by the ‘Maclean Green Army’, put the finishing touches to the upgrade, with plants supplied by Maclean Landcare through the council’s Townsend community nursery.
The total cost of the work was about $134,000, of which $18,000 was provided by the Crowns Public Reserve Management Fund towards the cost of the hand rail.
The plan of management states that the “Maclean Scenic Lookout has long been a popular destination, with the first known written account appearing in 1892 when the Governor and Lady Jersey made a trip to the lookout – the road was described as steep and rugged.
“The next account, in 1909, described the area as having the ‘most beautiful panoramic views up and down the river (Grafton & District Centenary)’.”