Celebrating Water and Culture on the Moorabool

May 17, 2019

On a beautiful Autumn day at Dog Rocks on the Morrabul Yaluk, Wadawurrung Traditional Owners joined community and agency with a love for the Moorabool River to celebrate Water and Culture and the recognition of Wadawurrung values in waterway management.

Ceremony was conducted to welcome the extra 500 megalitre fresh sent down the river to protect cultural values, and the Wadawurrung community placed a Buniya Binak traditional eel trap into the river under a Cultural Fishing Permit.

Gifts were exchanged, with community gifting water for ceremony. A beautifully designed possum skin, coolamon and baby Buniya Binak was given to Corangamite CMA Aboriginal Water Officer, Kristen Lees.

Wadawurrung woman Melinda Kennedy says the design on the possum skin “celebrates the projects and symbolises the mountains and confluences of the Moorabul and Barwon - and all the meeting places along the river banks.

This moving celebration was the culmination of an 18 month partnership between the Wadawurrung and Corangamite CMA to ensure Traditional Owners have a central voice in the management of waterways on their Country. Wadawurrung inclusion on the technical panel of the latest FLOWS study for the Barwon system identified the importance of protecting culturally significant species like the Eel, maintaining deep pools and the recognition of confluences as culturally important places.

This important work informed the Wadawurrung's decision to create a Buniya Binak with the women of their community, led by Wadawurrung woman Tammy Gilson.  It was an honor to share the launch of the Eel trap and their celebration of water on Wadawurrung Country.

Acknowledgement: The 500 megalitre delivery of water was secured through the collaboration of Corangamite Catchment Management Authority, Wathaurung Aboriginal Corporation, Victorian Environmental Water Holder (VEWH), Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and Central Highlands Water.

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