Celebrations on Budj Bim Country at Mount Eccles
Wednesday 8 May, 2013
There have been a couple of reasons for recent celebrations on the Budj Bim country also known as Mount Eccles National Park. One was to celebrate the six year anniversary of the Gunditjmara Native Title Settlement for the area, ratified in March 2007, and the other was the completion of a major program of improvements to this popular park.
The anniversary celebrations featured a traditional smoking ceremony which was followed by a barbecue for about fifty guests. Mr Levi Lovett, Convenor of the Budj Bim Council which represents both the interests of the Traditional Owners and State Government, welcomed visitors with these words.
“The Creation Ancestors gave us a kinship system linking people to all things and the cultural responsibility to look after them all. We have always understood the biodiversity of Country and our traditional ancestral knowledge is a vital part of managing this rich environment”.
He said the Budj Bim Council is one way the Gunditjmara Traditional Owners are maintaining connection to their Country by having an active role in the management of Mount Eccles National Park.
An example of this has been the overseeing of a significant upgrade of visitor facilities at the Park, which was funded through the cooperative management agreement that establishes the Budj Bim Council. This included construction of two new gas barbecues and shelters, improvements to the shower and toilet blocks, the sealing walking of tracks and maintenance of the Budj Bim Trail.
Parks Victoria’s Don Tumney says cooperative management has many positive aspects “Having the cultural and historical input from the Gunditjmara Traditonal Owners gives us a broader perspective on the management of this country. We’re working together to preserve this special environment and make it a place where people can come and absorb its unique cultural and geographic features. We’re already seeing an increase in visitors to the park as a result of the recent improvements.”
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