Friday, January 20, 2017

Ancient Aboriginal site a step closer to UNESCO World Heritage status

Budj Bim Landscape: Ancient Aboriginal site a step closer to UNESCO World Heritage status
An ancient Aboriginal settlement and aquaculture site in south-west Victoria is a step closer to being named a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Key points:

The site is 6,600 years old, older than Stonehenge and the Pyramids

The Federal Government has submitted a nomination for the Budj Bim Cultural Landscape at Lake Condah to be included on Australia's World Heritage Tentative List.

If the nomination is successful, Budj Bim would be the Australia's 20th World Heritage site and the only place listed solely for its Indigenous cultural value.

It marks a significant turning point for the Gunditjmara traditional owners who have worked tirelessly for several years to see Budj Bim gain a tentative World Heritage nomination.

Denis Rose, project manager for Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation, said there was a sigh of relief when the group was informed of the tentative nomination.
  • "We've worked on this process for quite a few years, we've had to get our evidence together and we're just really glad and excited that we've finally been accepted on Australia's World Heritage Tentative list," he said.
  • The Gunditjmara people used Lake Condah and surrounding wetlands to form channels to harvest eels in the area thousands of years ago.
Today the remains of intricate stone traps used to form the channels can be seen at the site, and it is one of the oldest aquaculture sites in the world.

Mr Rose said the site is a hidden treasure and traditional owners were confident a World Heritage nomination would boost tourism.

"We take quite a few tours out on country and the general consensus is 'Oh, I didn't realise this was here'."

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