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Upside-down Country

We seek our upside-down country to be healthy again.

In the mid-1800s, large deposits of gold were discovered in our Country, enticing flocks of people looking to make their fortune. The miners cut down trees for firewood and building, diverted creeks and rivers and dug holes in the ground, pulling up large volumes of earth.

Since that time, mining has been constant in Dja Dja Wurrung Country. This has left a legacy of soil erosion, salinity and toxicity from contaminants such as arsenic and mercury. The country around the goldfields is very sick and a significant program of remediation is required. As custodians of all Dja Dja Wurrung land, we feel a deep responsibility to heal this Country so that it can be healthy and functioning once again.

We are working to understand the extent of damage to Dja Dja Wurrung Country caused by mining. And seek to be involved in the design and implementation of remediation works and restoration initiatives in upside-down country.

Despite the environmental and social impacts of this legacy, no-one has taken responsibility for healing the areas that have been impacted by the mining. Reversing the damage to this land is not an attractive business proposition, so there are few remediation programs. On top of this, the risks and liabilities from the contamination that has occurred are largely unknown, and so governments have been reluctant to grant permission to work on this Country.

We have capacity through Djandak to remediate toxic land and we will continue to seek that areas of land handed back that are sick and not being healed. We welcome partnerships to assist us to overcome these significant challenges.

The impacts of mining on Dja Dja Wurrung Country – Boylan, Hepburn Estate