I will have further contact details for Cultural heritage Rangers and contacts shortly, but please feel free to drop me a line with any queries and I will endeavour to help or pass them onto the relevant persons.
INDIGENOUS CULTURAL HERITAGE IN THE GRAMPIANS
A RECORD TO THE GARIWERD (GRAMPIANS) LANDSCAPE
(this article (slightly edited) was written by Suzy Scurrie – Cultural Heritage partnership ranger at PV Halls Gap) and was published on the Friends of Gariwerd website
The Grampians (Gariwerd) landscape of western Victoria is renowned for its spectacular landforms and scenic beauty, its diverse flora and fauna and its significant Aboriginal heritage places.
The Gariwerd landscape holds the imprint of thousands of generations of Aboriginal people’s connection to the land.
This connection to country refers not only to archaeological artefacts, but also to the cultural landscape, the dreaming tracks and trade and travel routes, significant and sacred landscape features and to the mythological association with a place or the location of a spirit being, all of which remain strong today.
There are over 200 archaeological sites recorded in the Grampians National Park. These sites consist mostly of stone artefacts, quartz scatters, scarred trees and rock art sites, but stone quarries, fish traps and burials have also been previously recorded.
Approximately 60% of Victoria’s rock art can be found in Gariwerd.
The Aboriginal Cultural Heritage within Gariwerd is protected under ‘The Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006’. The main purpose of this Act is to provide for the protection of Aboriginal cultural heritage in Victoria.
Key objectives of this Act are*-
(a) to recognise, protect and conserve Aboriginal cultural heritage in Victoria in ways that are based on respect for Aboriginal knowledge and cultural and traditional practices;
(b) to recognise Aboriginal people as the primary guardians, keepers and knowledge holders of Aboriginal cultural heritage;
(c) to accord appropriate status to Aboriginal people with traditional or familial links with Aboriginal cultural heritage in protecting that heritage;(Registered Aboriginal Parties)
(f) to establish an Aboriginal cultural heritage register to record Aboriginal cultural heritage;
*Not all objectives are listed
In accordance with this Act Parks Victoria work closely with the Registered Aboriginal Parties (RAP applicants) and Aboriginal Affairs Victoria (AAV) to record, protect and manage these places and objects. Over the years there has been specialist training in the areas of site identification, recording, mapping and survey opportunities for the RAPs and Parks Victoria indigenous staff
At a local level, Registered Aboriginal Parties (RAPs) are the voice of Aboriginal people in the management and protection of Aboriginal cultural heritage under the Act.
There are new sites recorded regularly through surveys and parks works. The Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 requires Aboriginal places and objects to be recorded on the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Register (VAHR)
The Register holds the details of all known Aboriginal cultural heritage places and objects within Victoria, including their location and a detailed description. This helps build a picture of how the Aboriginal people used the landscape and is a very useful management tool to monitor and protect places and objects. However there are restrictions on who can access the Register because it contains culturally sensitive information.
The public can help with the identification and protection of sites within the park.
If you discover a potential cultural heritage place or object, please do not disturb the site or remove any material.
Record its location if possible, write a brief description of its condition and note whether it is under threat of disturbance.
Indigenous cultural heritage sites no matter how big or small, are an important record of the past occupation of the land by Aboriginal people, so it is important that these sites are protected for the future.
Below are downloads of flyers explaining the kinds of Indigenous cultural heritage that you may come across: