Learning about Cultural Heritage

This week, more than 60 Landcarers and natural resource management specialists have attended cultural heritage training at the Knob Reserve with staff from the Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation (GLaWAC).

The training, organised by GLaWAC and West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (WGCMA), is focused on improving the understanding of what cultural heritage is, why it’s important and what to do if it’s identified at a Landcare project site.

GLaWAC Cultural Hub Manager, Grattan Mullett Snr, explained to the groups how the Gunaikurnai moved across Country and the importance of looking after Country.

“I acknowledge all Landcarers for the work they do to protect and restore Country,” said Mr Mullett.

“We as Gunaikurnai have a strong connection to Country and while there is a lot of physical past and present evidence of our life on Country, there are also other important sites, places where activities have happened that may not still have physical evidence of our use, but still gives us cultural and spiritual connections to our country. this knowledge is handed down by our Elders, through generations.

“To have people who are working and caring for the land understand this connection to Country and to be looking out for cultural heritage is extremely important,” continued Mr Mullett.

Uncle Lloyd Hood told the moving story of his childhood and experiences as an Aboriginal man to attendees, helping broaden their understanding of his connection to Country.

Joint Manager Rangers Harley Wanganeen and Bryce Baxter also explained to the group what their role is as JM Rangers, the importance to them of working on Country and re-establishing that connection.

Feedback from participants was positive.

Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Officer from WGCMA, Mandy Leggett, said the organisation was continuing to organise sessions to ensure the region’s 800 Landcarers had the opportunity to participate.

“We have two sessions already fully booked with the Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation at the Powlett and Tarwin rivers,” said Ms Leggett.

“And we’re asking Landcarers to pre-register their interest with us and we’ll continue to work with our Traditional Owner groups to run these sessions.”

All participants left the training with a Cultural Heritage Information Pack (CHIP). These packs include a step-by-step guide for Landcarers to follow prior to new projects as well as information on what Aboriginal cultural heritage is and what to do if it’s discovered on a property or at a Landcare project site.

These packs have been developed by Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation, Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation and West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority.

To pre-register your interest in attending a Cultural Heritage Training session please email Marnie Ellis marniee@wgcma.vic.gov.au or call 1300 094 262.

This project is supported by West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program and  the Victorian Government’s Landcare Program.

The team from GLaWAC with employees Mandy and Jackson standing at the lookout at Knob Reserve