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Cultural Heritage

Our Cultural Heritage

Our Country continues to nourish us by providing bush tucker and medicine.

In addition to our customs and practices, our tangible cultural heritage is a core part of our identity and connection to Country. The mountains, rivers and trees that make up cultural landscapes are the foundations of our creation stories.

In addition to our customs and practices, our tangible cultural heritage is a core part of our identity and connection to Country. The mountains, rivers and trees that make up cultural landscapes are the foundations of our creation stories.

The sites that lie within these landscapes tell the stories of our history – both good and bad. Scar trees and birthing sites are some of the evidence that remain of the past practices of our people.

Massacre and mission sites remind us of more recent influences on our people. An important part of our healing has been the return to our management of the site where the Franklinford Mission stood. This is a place of sadness but also of resilience and growth. As we heal the land we will remember and honour our ancestors and their individual and collective experience.

Aboriginal artefacts are scattered across our Country, telling of the rituals and practices of our ancestors. Some of the remains of our ancestors have been removed, and we are working to bring them home and reinter them to Country as they will not be at rest until they are properly reburied on Dja Dja Wurrung Country.

Many of our special places and artefacts are not secure. Through both accidental and wilful damage, our cultural heritage is gradually being destroyed. Vandalism and deliberate destruction of sites is sadly still an issue for us.

Damage also occurs through the actions of tourists and visitors to our Country, where signage and protection of sites is not adequate.

On a larger scale, compliance with cultural heritage legislation is not always strong, and sites can be lost through developments and land management practices.

Our artefacts are collected by landholders and visitors who find them, and don’t know or care to return them to us.

We will need to consider all of these challenges when taking action to protect our cultural heritage. We take our role as the Registered aboriginal Party seriously.

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We have a lot of work to do but we aim to:

  • Strengthen our understanding of what significant sites and artefacts exist on Dja Dja Wurrung Country.
  • Secure the right and means to effectively protect and manage cultural landscapes and sites.
  • Ensure Dja Dja Wurrung ancestral remains, cultural objects and collections are returned to Country, and protected.
  • Make use of our cultural heritage to promote healing and reconciliation, teach Jaara people about their Country and laws, and raise cultural awareness among the broader community.
HARLEY DUNOLLY-LEE

CONNECTION TO COUNTRY

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