The remarkable Aboriginal cultural landscape of the Grampians continues to be revealed, with recent rediscoveries in the national park being added to the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Register at Bundaleer, Spurt Wall and Taipan Wall.
The park’s values are protected by legislation, including the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 under which significant financial penalties apply for harm caused to Aboriginal cultural heritage.
The recent rediscoveries were made during park assessments with Traditional Owners, as part of the process to develop a new management plan for the Grampians landscape. The assessments revealed ancient cultural material, including multiple quarry sites – places where Aboriginal people took stone from rocky outcrops to make tools for different purposes.
Concentrations of stone tools, archaeological deposits within rock shelters and, unusually, an ochre deposit are also present. Ochre is used for painting and decorative purposes, and along with other materials confirm the connections that Traditional Owners have to land they have cared for tens of thousands of year.
Assessments also identified soil compaction and vegetation damage was evident in the area.
New cultural heritage protection zones
With the popular rock-climbing areas Taipan Wall, Spurt Wall and Bundaleer located within these Aboriginal cultural places, Parks Victoria has hosted a meeting with rock climbing representatives to discuss the need for immediate protections.
These include protection zones and signage so that people don’t inadvertently enter the areas and cause harm.
The protection zone areas used for bushwalking and rock climbing, while other sections currently remain open to the public. A long-term approach to protecting these places will be determined by a new management plan, a draft of which is expected to be released for further public consultation later this year.
We know that these protection zones extend across highly regarded climbing areas. In preparation for this announcement, Traditional Owners invited Parks Victoria and the Gariwerd Wimmera Reconciliation Network to visit the area to discuss the cultural and environmental values present and how recreation is undertaken there.
We will continue to consult with climbers and hope we can work together to protect and celebrate these unique rediscoveries.
Further information about these protection zones, including maps, is available here:
The vast majority of Victoria’s parks and reserves contain Aboriginal cultural heritage, the full extent of which is still being understood. In the broader Gariwerd landscape, in addition to rock art, Aboriginal places include burials, mounds, stone arrangements, freshwater middens, rock quarries, artefact scatters, archaeological layers and scar trees, and larger areas that also include intangible values such as creation stories.
Traditional Owners of the Grampians region are represented by Barengi Gadjin Land Council, Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation, and Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation. Together, they form a Strategic Partnership Committee of Traditional Owners.
Please note: Some parts of the Grampians National Park are currently closed as part of current public health measures to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), while others are open to local residents for the purpose of exercise if it is their closest park.
Visitors are reminded to stay safe by washing your hands regularly, wearing a face covering when you leave home, coughing and sneezing into your elbow, keeping at least 1.5 metres from others and staying home if you feel unwell.
We thank you for your continued interest in the future of the Greater Gariwerd landscape.