Budj Bim in Victoria another step closer to UNESCO World Heritage listing

Published on : Wednesday, April 27, 2016

UnescoBudj Bim in south west Victoria, home to the Gunditjmara people for thousands of years, is another step closer to its UNESCO World Heritage listing.

 
The cultural landscape in south west Victoria has been identified by scholars as the world’s first engineering project, dating back at least 6600 years, preceding the Pyramids of Egypt and Stonehenge.

 
Budj Bim pre-dates the Pyramids of Egypt, is one of Australia’s most important Aboriginal sites, and it should absolutely be recognised as a UNESCO heritage listed site.” Victoria’s Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Natalie Hutchins said.

 
The site hosts a sophisticated farming system, in which the Gunditjmara people engineered a complex system of weirs that trapped eels, providing them a yearly supply of food.

 
These eels provided such a reliable food source that the local people could settle there and build stone houses, instead of living a nomadic existence. These are the only Aboriginal stone houses found in Australia.

 
The Victorian Budget 2016/17 will provide $8 million for the Gundij Mirring Traditional Owners to implement stages one and two of the Budj Bim Master Plan, which will open this natural heritage landscape to all Australians to learn about its rich history.

 
“We are protecting Aboriginal cultural heritage and developing state-wide Aboriginal tourism experiences for all Victorians to respect and enjoy, while upholding the Gunditjmara people’s long and enduring connection to this land,” the Minister said.

 
The Master Plan identifies priority projects to ensure the area can accommodate visitors and support tourism while providing economic opportunities for the Traditional Owners.

 
This will also strengthen a bid for the national heritage landscape to receive UNESCO World Heritage listing.

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