VICTORIA Police have arrested and charged a 23-year-old Horsham man with criminal damage in relation to graffiti in the Grampians National Park.
In October, Parks Victoria said graffiti has been found on a shelf at Hollow Mountain in the Grampians, only 100 metres from a significant Aboriginal cultural heritage site.
Horsham Acting Senior Sergeant Lee Creasey said a Horsham man, 23, had been arrested and charged in relation to the damage.
He said police executed simultaneous warrants in Horsham and Stawell on Friday.
Acting Senior Sergeant Creasey said evidence related to the graffiti was found at each location.
He said police arrested the Horsham man, 23, who was charged with criminal damage and bailed to appear at Horsham Magistrate’s Court on January 11.
Acting Senior Sergeant Creasey said the man was also charged in relation to drug paraphernalia and weapons found at the address.
He said another Horsham man, 25, was arrested in relation to the damage but had been released pending further inquires.
Barengi Gadjin Land Council Registered Aboriginal Party manager Darren Griffin welcomed the news.
“I think it’s great,” he said.
“Hopefully it’ll defer people from doing it again.”
Mr Griffin said the man was unlikely to face prosecution under the Aboriginal Heritage Act as no rock art was damaged in the attack.
However, Mr Griffin said all of the Grampians had special meaning to traditional owners.
In October, Mr Griffin described the vandalism as akin to defacing a church.
“It’s completely out of place. It’s quite disrespectful,” he said.
“The chance you could destroy something forever is quite high.
“What I’d like to say is people should be aware when they go and graffiti they could be damaging a sacred site, this art can be thousands of years old – it’s irreplaceable.
“There’s been a good search of the rock shelter and no heritage was found, but 100 metres away in an adjacent shelter there were motifs, luckily these weren’t damaged.”
Mr Griffin said Parks Victoria and the Barengi Gadjin Land Council had removed graffiti from the area but had not yet been able to remove the spray painted sections.
“We’ve never seen anything like it before, it’ll take a lot of work to remove fully,” he said.