Exploring Indigenous heritage: a journey at Budj Bim Cultural Landscape

Recently, our Years 10 and 11 students studying Agriculture embarked on a captivating journey at the Budj Bim Cultural Landscape, a newly designated UNESCO World Heritage site. The excursion provided an opportunity for students to delve into the wisdom of Indigenous Gunditjmara heritage. Under the guidance of the Gunditjmara guide, students gained first-hand knowledge of aquaculture systems and processes.

The Budj Bim Cultural Landscape, situated in the traditional Country of the Gunditjmara people, encompasses one of the world’s oldest and most extensive aquaculture systems. Developed over millennia, this system, based on the Budj Bim lava flows, served as an economic and social cornerstone for Gunditjmara society for over six millennia. It embodies a deep time narrative, reflecting the enduring connection between the Gunditjmara and their land.

This unique experience was shared with Old Collegian Adam Black (1991), the Heritage, Research & Policy Manager for the Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation. Adam’s insightful guidance, stemming from his journey from Ballarat Clarendon College to his current position, enriched the students’ understanding of research and landscape heritage.

The excursion also allowed First Nation students to connect with their Indigenous heritage and history alongside our Indigenous Program Manager, Fiona Cummins. Some of the unique sites visited included Tae Rak (Lake Condah) and Kurtonitj, featuring wetlands, lava flows, and eel traps and seasonal markers.

The Budj Bim Cultural Landscape stands as a testament to the ongoing cultural resilience and stewardship of the Gunditjmara people. The 2019 UNESCO listing highlights its global significance and underscores the importance of preserving Indigenous heritage for future generations. Through experiences like these, students not only gain knowledge but also cultivate a deep appreciation for the rich tapestry of Indigenous cultures and their enduring connection to the land.

© Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation