An ordinary house auction in Sydney’s south took an unexpected turn when a group of indigenous Australians protested that the property is a sacred heritage site, forcing the auction to be postponed.
Former Balmain, Gold Coast and South Sydney rugby league star Wes Patten was among the protesters of the Gadigal people, according to The Daily Telepgraph.
Mr Patten reportedly lodged a caveat on the Sans Souci property a day before the auction, claiming an ‘equitable interest’ in the land because of it potentially containing Aboriginal artefacts.
"I just wanted to inform the people about the site's Aboriginal significance," Mr Patten said.
The Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council (MLALC) has since thrown its support behind the group’s claims, according to the daily.
The area of contention appears to be at the rear of the property under a lemon tree, where the MLAMC’c chief executive Paul Morris reportedly said it has found "a number of older shells and other possible remnants of sharpened rocks which could be spear tips".
The MLAMC have requested a buffer zone of at least 30 metres around the alleged artefacts.
Auctioneer and principal of Belgrave Properties Zac Imisides told the daily the action taken by Mr Patten and the group to obstruct the auction were irresponsible.
"I believe a fair auction was obstructed. There's no way a bidder would have felt comfortable to bid on that day," Mr Imisides said.
According to Mr Imisides, the property was worth over $700,000.
He said it attracted just two bids of $150,000 and $200,000, with the first from Mr Patten's group, calling the bids “ridiculous”.
A group of other bidders, who he believes were willing to pay full market value, were "scared off".
The beneficial owner of the property, Perpetual Trustees, was keen to resume the sales process but would seek clarification on the Aboriginal heritage.