THE Grampians National Park has been used by a neo-Nazi group to hold a three-day ‘radicalisation camp’.
Self-described Nazi group ‘Antipodean Resistance’ travelled to the Grampians some time before August 22 for the camp.
Antipodean Resistance documented its camp via pictures posted on social media and a brief YouTube video.
The video shows at least eight young men or teenagers hiking in the Grampians and what appears to be Halls Gap, and marching while carrying a flag bearing the Nazi swastika.
Social media promotion
Antipodean Resistance’s Twitter account posted its members “went on a 3 day hiking trip recently”, which was in conflict with the video’s title that declared the event a ‘radicalisation camp’.
One Twitter user responded “little boys playing army. How cute”.
The group’s website stated the Grampians trip was designed to test their ability to hike with minimal food and equipment.
Antipodean Resistance has previously held combat training camps in the Dandenong Ranges and near Mount Beerburrum in Queensland.
Some of the neo-Nazis wore military camouflage pants and jackets and carried backpacks similar to those used by the Australian Defence Force.
Others wore jeans or hiking clothes with black leather boots or tennis shoes.
The video had its sound removed and faces of the Nazi group members blurred before it was uploaded to the internet.
Landmarks in Nazi video
Throughout the video the neo-Nazis visit some of The Grampians most famous tourist spots, including lookouts over Wartook, Halls Gap and Lake Bellfield.
The neo-Nazis also filmed themselves marching in Halls Gap itself and encountering its kangaroos and wallabies.
The social media images have had one of the Antipodean Resistance’s logo superimposed over all the members faces.
The logo features the Totenkopf, a skull and crossbones symbol used by the Nazi Waffen-SS during Word War II, with an Australian cattleman’s hat on the skull.
Camp documented on YouTube
Fairfax Media was alerted to the existence of the video by a Grampians resident, who planned to report the video to the popular video sharing platform’s administrators.
The resident, who asked that his name not be used for fear of his personal safety, said the video was “horrible”.
“How scary! How scary that they radicalising in the Grampians.” he said.
YouTube’s terms of service prohibit ‘hateful content’.
“Our products are platforms for free expression,” YouTube’s community guidelines stated.
“But we don't support content that promotes or condones violence against individuals or groups based on race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, nationality, veteran status, or sexual orientation/gender identity, or whose primary purpose is inciting hatred on the basis of these core characteristics.”
As of Tuesday morning, the video had been viewed more than 500 times.
The last few seconds of the video declare “This could be you! Join your local Nazis”.
The neo-Nazis also placed swastikas on Parks Victoria signage in the Grampians.
Parks Victoria Area Chief Ranger David Roberts urged park users to report all graffiti.
“We’re disappointed to see this reported behaviour in the Grampians National Park,” he said.
“Our rangers remove stickers and graffiti from parks and reserves, and we encourage the public to report any vandalism or inappropriate behaviour to Parks Victoria on 13 1963.”
Antipodean Resistance has little available history prior to 2016.
Its website was registered anonymous by a company in the United States in November 2016 and contains hidden text that declares “Hitler did nothing wrong”.
The group has previously claimed responsibility for putting up posters at universities in Melbourne telling Chinese students they would be deported if they entered certain areas.
The group has also uploaded images of its members putting up posters in Melbourne claiming legalising same-sex marriage would lead to paedophilia being normalised.
Antipodean Resistance has been contacted for comment.
‘We believe in Adolf Hitler’
An Antipodean Resistance spokesperson told Fairfax Media that the group was a serious neo-Nazi organisation.
“We are a 'literal neo-nazi group' in that we believe in what Adolf Hitler stood for and we fight for the National Socialist cause,” the spokesperson said.
“As for your implications that we embrace genocide, that is a very one-sided view of history.
The spokesperson said the group chose to hold a camp in the Grampians “because it is a beautiful place”.
“The nature is great, with fantastic views and it's a fun walk with many places to explore,” the spokesperson said.
“We hoped to instill a greater appreciation of nature among the group and prepare them to deal with harsher conditions than most people are used to with their modern conveniences.”
“Some participants were from Melbourne. Others were from elsewhere. You might be surprised at how many people in western Victoria are sympathetic to our views.”
When asked if the group planned to hold any further events in western Victoria, the spokesperson said: “You'll just have to wait and see”.
Zero tolerance from police
A Victoria police spokesperson said people had a right to express their beliefs but not to incite violence.
“Victoria Police monitors intelligence from a range of sources relevant to any group that may pose a threat or risk to the community, and we are well equipped to intervene to ensure the community is safe,” the spokesperson said.
“We respect the right of the community to express their views peacefully and lawfully, however, urging violence and hatred is not a form of free speech that the community, or Victoria Police will tolerate.”