Significant site handed to traditional owners

A great bit of news. This story comes from the Bendigo Advertiser.

OWNERSHIP of one of Victoria’s most significant Indigenous sites was handed to the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation on Friday.

The 46 hectare Mount Barker property, at Harcourt North, contains rock formations and a scarred tree describing a critical part of the Dreaming for the region’s Indigenous people.

The Indigenous Land Council purchased the land in a private sale, before officially handing the ownership to the Dja Dja Wurrung corporation.

Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation director Trent Nelson said it was a significant moment.

For me, as a Dja Dja Wurrung man, seeing these pieces of land handed back to us is very special,” he said.

It gives us that sense of ownership and management, it gives us control of our land again.”

Overlooking the rolling hills and valleys of Harcourt North, the property’s rock formations tell of the serpent Mindi, which enforced the lore of the land.

Mindi was also believed to be responsible for the smallpox epidemics of the 1800s.

Bunjil, the wedge-tailed eagle creator spirit, oversaw the land and passed down responsibility to Mindi.

The site is one of the only of its type in central Victoria, and the only one telling the story of Mindi.

Since European settlement in the 1800s, the property has been used mainly for sheep grazing.

Mr Nelson said the last owner was eager to pass the land on to the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation when they found out it was a significant site.

He said groups would begin straight away restoring some of the native landscape.

Workers will be out there next week, we plan to have 9000 native plants planted there,” Mr Nelson said.

That’s mainly to eradicate pests and weeds and to restore the land.”

Other works on the property will enable cultural ceremonies, cultural education awareness and land management training for rangers.

Eight sites on the property are listed on Victoria’s Aboriginal Heritage Register.

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