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22 October 2004
At the request of the traditional owners, the Director of National Parks will close the Twin Falls area in Kakadu National Park for three days from the evening of Thursday 28 October for ceremonial purposes.
Aboriginal people, Bininj, will be holding a funeral ceremony and mourning the death of a young man who recently passed away.
The young man was one of the 40 Aboriginal guides who worked on the new Twin Falls boat shuttle during the dry season, and was a much loved member of the Kakadu community. In respect for Bininj custom, we cannot say the young man's name or show his face during this sorry period.
This mark of respect upholds Kakadu's World Heritage cultural values, based on Aboriginal customs alive today that date back tens of thousands of years.
The road into Twin Falls will be closed at the Jim Jim Creek Crossing, just past the closest visitor site to Twin Falls, the Jim Jim day use area, so that Bininj can mourn in private.
The Jim Jim Falls area, the Jim Jim day use area, the Budjmi Walk, the Garnamarr Campground and all other attractions in the Park will remain open.
Rangers will hold special talks for visitors at Garnamarr, explaining the cultural reasons for closing the Falls.
Kakadu National Park is on land owned by Aboriginal people, and unlike most national parks across the country, Aboriginal people, Bininj, still live here. Kakadu has been their home for 50,000 years, and Bininj age-old customs and traditions are still a central part of life in Kakadu.
This is the first time traditional owners have asked for a part of Kakadu National Park used by visitors to be closed for ceremonial reasons, although there have been closures at Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park for significant ceremonial reasons.
The mourning ceremonies come three days before the Twin Falls boats and boardwalk are scheduled to be removed for the wet season, to ensure visitor safety and to avoid damage from flash flooding. The walk (by permit only) to the top of gorge will now close from October 28.
Twin Falls will reopen in the dry season 2005.