Cultural sites protected along the Wimmera River
Friday 5 June, 2020
Cultural heritage sites in the Wimmera River Heritage Park have been demarcated from visitor areas, ensuring they are protected as visitors and camping return to the area.
The $100,000 demarcation works included installation of more than 1.2km of bollards and barriers near campsites along the Wimmera River, known as ‘Barringgi Gadyin’, where nine registered Aboriginal cultural heritage sites, consisting of shell middens, earth features, artefacts and scar trees, and a European charcoal pit are present.
The protections will keep vehicles away from the fragile sites while ensuring access to the river’s edge is uninterrupted.
Signage has also been installed in the area, recognising Traditional Owners of the land, the Wotjobaluk, Jaadwa, Jadawadjali, Wergaia and Jupagulk peoples (collectively Wotjobaluk).
The Wimmera River has been important to the Wotjobaluk for many thousands of years and today the heritage park is co-managed by Parks Victoria and Barengi Gadjin Land Council. In the early 1800s, European settlers also discovered the river’s rich resources and settled nearby.
At the eastern boundary of the Little Desert National Park, the Wimmera River Heritage Park offers excellent camping, fishing, bushwalking, bird watching and picnicking for the local community and visitors.
The project to protect cultural heritage employed an Indigenous on-ground crew and was funded by the Wimmera Catchment Management Authority through State Government’s ‘Our Catchments, Our Communities’ program. Our Catchments, Our Communities is the first state-wide strategy for integrated catchment management in Victoria.
While the Victorian Government has recently announced an easing of restrictions throughout the state, visitors to Victoria’s parks are reminded to stay safe by maintaining good hygiene, keeping at a distance from others and staying home if feeling unwell.
Quotes attributable to Stuart Harradine, Barengi Gadjin Land Council:
“This project has been important in helping to protect Wotjobaluk cultural heritage in this section of ‘Barringgi Gadyin’, the Wimmera River, which is a cultural landscape particularly vulnerable to damage from inappropriate vehicle access.”
“The project has realised some of the priorities and actions identified in our ‘Growing What Is Good’ Country Plan, and we are keen to undertake more partnership projects such as this so we can continue to address key aspirations of the Wotjobaluk people.”
Quotes attributable to Zoe Wilkinson, Area Chief Ranger–Parks Victoria:
“As with most parks and reserves in Victoria, the Wimmera River Heritage Park contains Aboriginal cultural places, the full extent of which is still being understood.”
“Parks Victoria and Barengi Gadjin Land Council have a legislated responsibility to protect the area from visitor impacts.”
“We have worked closely with Barengi Gadjin Land Council on this project, with two of our Indigenous and Traditional Owner staff pioneering a new method of bollard and barrier construction.”