Budj Bim Cultural Landscape

 
S38 4 52 E141 53 7
Date of Inscription: 2019
Criteria: (iii)(v)
Property : 9,935 ha
Ref: 1577
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The Budj Bim Cultural Landscape, located in the traditional Country of the Gunditjmara people in south-eastern Australia, consists of three serial components containing one of the world’s most extensive and oldest aquaculture systems. The Budj Bim lava flows provide the basis for the complex system of channels, weirs and dams developed by the Gunditjmara in order to trap, store and harvest kooyang (short-finned eel – Anguilla australis). The highly productive aquaculture system provided an economic and social base for Gunditjmara society for six millennia. The Budj Bim Cultural Landscape is the result of a creational process narrated by the Gunditjmara as a deep time story, referring to the idea that they have always lived there. From an archaeological perspective, deep time represents a period of at least 32,000 years. The ongoing dynamic relationship of Gunditjmara and their land is nowadays carried by knowledge systems retained through oral transmission and continuity of cultural practice.

The Budj Bim Cultural Landscape is located in the traditional Country of the Gunditjmara Aboriginal people in south-eastern Australia. The three serial components of the property contain one of the world’s most extensive and oldest aquaculture systems. The Budj Bim lava flows, which connect the three components, provides the basis for this complex aquaculture system developed by the Gunditjmara, based on deliberate redirection, modification and management of waterways and wetlands.

Over a period of at least 6,600 years the Gunditjmara created, manipulated and modified these local hydrological regimes and ecological systems. They utilised the abundant local volcanic rock to construct channels, weirs and dams and manage water flows in order to systematically trap, store and harvest kooyang (short-finned eel – Anguilla australis) and support enhancement of other food resources.

The highly productive aquaculture system provided a six millennia-long economic and social base for Gunditjmara society. This deep time interrelationship of Gunditjmara cultural and environmental systems is documented through present-day Gunditjmara cultural knowledge, practices, material culture, scientific research and historical documents. It is evidenced in the aquaculture system itself and in the interrelated geological, hydrological and ecological systems.

The Budj Bim Cultural Landscape is the result of a creational process narrated by the Gunditjmara as a deep time story. For the Gunditjmara, deep time refers to the idea that they have always been there. From an archaeological perspective, deep time refers to a period of at least 32,000 years that Aboriginal people have lived in the Budj Bim Cultural Landscape. The ongoing dynamic relationship of Gunditjmara and their land is nowadays carried by knowledge systems retained through oral transmission and continuity of cultural practice.

Criterion (iii): The Budj Bim Cultural Landscape bears an exceptional testimony to the cultural traditions, knowledge, practices and ingenuity of the Gunditjmara. The extensive networks and antiquity of the constructed and modified aquaculture system of the Budj Bim Cultural Landscape bears testimony to the Gunditjmara as engineers and kooyang fishers. Gunditjmara knowledge and practices have endured and continue to be passed down through their Elders and are recognisable across the wetlands of the Budj Bim Cultural Landscape in the form of ancient and elaborate systems of stone-walled kooyang husbandry (or aquaculture) facilities. Gunditjmara cultural traditions, including associated storytelling, dance and basket weaving, continue to be maintained by their collective multigenerational knowledge.

Criterion (v): The continuing cultural landscape of the Budj Bim Cultural Landscape is an outstanding representative example of human interaction with the environment and testimony to the lives of the Gunditjmara. The Budj Bim Cultural Landscape was created by the Gunditjmara who purposefully harnessed the productive potential of the patchwork of wetlands on the Budj Bim lava flow. They achieved this by creating, modifying and maintaining an extensive hydrological engineering system that manipulated water flow in order to trap, store and harvest kooyang that migrate seasonally through the system. The key elements of this system are the interconnected clusters of constructed and modified water channels, weirs, dams, ponds and sinkholes in combination with the lava flow, water flow and ecology and life-cycle of kooyang. The Budj Bim Cultural Landscape exemplifies the dynamic ecological-cultural relationships evidenced in the Gunditjmara’s deliberate manipulation and management of the environment.

Suggested Bases:

Portland is a coastal town in Victoria, Australia, roughly midway between Melbourne and Adelaide, just beyond the region known as the Great Ocean Road. Portland was Victoria’s first permanent settlement, which gives it a rich heritage feeling with more than 200 historical buildings from the 1800s. Portland has a long seafaring history beginning with the sealers and whalers that took shelter during southern storms in Portland’s natural deep water harbour. Portland’s Maritime Discovery Centre provides you with fascinating displays of this era as well information on whales with a Sperm Whale Skeleton, Southern Right Whale, Shark Showcase, the Portland Lifeboat from the 1850s, shipwreck displays and many other exhibits. Today’s waterfront is a hub of activity with ships from around the world loading up with local produce, the local fishing fleet bringing in their catch in the early mornings and locals and visitors alike strolling along the wide foreshore reserve. Whales often visit in the winter months [read more].

Warrnambool is a coastal town in Victoria, Australia, sometimes considered to be at the end of the Great Ocean Road. It is 265 km west from Melbourne, along the coast, and has a population of 31,000. See Replica maritime village at Flagstaff Hill; Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum. 9AM – 5PM. A substantial museum, with a replica community and many exhibits. A nighttime show “Shipwrecked” tells the story of the wreck at Loch Ard gorge, projected onto a water fountain in the lake; Lake Pertobe and Foreshore area; Southern Right Whales at Logans Beach. There is a viewing platform, and whales can often be easily seen without binoculars; Tower Hill (Princes Hwy, 14 km west of Warrnambool). wildlife reserve; and Botanical gardens, Botanic Road. Warrnambool has an airport located approximately 15km north of the CBD, although there are no scheduled commercial flights. Mount Gambier is 2 hours drive away to the west and has scheduled flights, but the best choice is generally Melbourne that has many more services and facilities and is a 3 hour drive to the east [read more].

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