Aboriginal heritage sites within the Perth Airport estate are managed in line with the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972. Picture: Gera Kazakov

Indigenous artefacts found at Munday Swamp

The artefacts at Munday Swamp found 2m underground in archaeological digs are estimated to be about 40,000 years old.
December 14, 2023
Gera Kazakov

ARTEFACTS believed to be up to 40,000 years old have been found at Munday Swamp during two targeted archaeological surveys taken in preparation for the construction of Perth Airport’s second runway.

A Perth Airport spokesperson said the surveys were conducted under the guidance of the Traditional Custodians and that the airport is in ongoing discussions with a number of local Noongar families on how to display the recovered artefacts.

“We have gone to great lengths to ensure the culturally significant Munday Swamp is protected for future generations,” they said.

“We know the proposed runway is close to the Munday Swamp wetlands and that like most wetlands across Perth, the area would have been regularly used by Indigenous people.

“The surveys were part of our efforts to understand if our heritage salvage plans for the areas outside of the swamp are as robust and comprehensive as they could be.

“We want to give the Whadjuk Traditional Custodians and the community a sense of confidence that any artefacts will be treated sensitively and respectfully.”

The artefacts themselves are small stone chips and were found two metres underground in archaeological digs.

A Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage spokesperson said that Perth Airport works regularly with Traditional Owners in managing the Aboriginal heritage within the site.

“There are Aboriginal heritage sites within the Perth Airport estate that are managed in line with the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972,” they said.

“Perth Airport obtained the required section 18 approval from the government to impact the site.”

The airport’s new runway is planned to be built on the western side of Abernethy Road and is expected to run through Grogan Road, permanently closing it, according to a construction factsheet released by Perth Airport.

It states that the new runway will be 3000m long, occupy a space of 293ha and help the airport cope with the projected 241,000 annual flights through the airport by 2045.

An airport spokesperson said construction has not started on the new runway, and that it is estimated to be a four-to-five-year build.

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