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DISPLAYING POSTS TAGGED: budj bim (2)

Budj Bim rangers

Author
by Kate C
Publish date
20 June 2011
Comments
Comments (2)

In March this year, MV scientists spent 10 days surveying the biodiversity of the Lake Condah area in a program called Bush Blitz. The project could never have happened without the collaboration and assistance of the Gunditjmara community, the Traditional Owners of Budj Bim lands around Lake Condah.

On Friday last week, the museum was pleased to return the hospitality and show a group of Budj Bim rangers and Traditional Owners around the collection stores and laboratories of the Natural Sciences Department.

Budj Bim rangers in store Budj Bim rangers in the Ornithology store, surrounded by the museum's collection of bird specimens.
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Head of Sciences, Mark Norman, led a tour through the ornithology, entomology and marine collection stores. The bird collection was their favourite but the giant squid in its huge tank of ethanol was a special highlight too.

  Mark Norman showing the giant squid Mark Norman showing an amazing but somewhat pungent giant squid specimen.
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Today’s visit was a chance to show the rangers what has happened to the Lake Condah specimens they helped to collect, and the sort of research done in the museum. We hope they’ll visit us again soon. Until then, here's a reminder of the significance of Lake Condah and the aquaculture practiced there by Gunditjmara people for thousands of years. In this video, Joseph Saunders explains eel farming and traditional life at Lake Condah.

 

Links:

Budj Bim National Heritage Landscape

Lake Condah Bush Blitz

Author
by Kate C
Publish date
22 March 2011
Comments
Comments (6)

The only way to learn about the biodiversity of an area is to get out there and look. That’s exactly what a team of scientists, including 24 MV staff and volunteers, is doing at the Lake Condah area in south-western Victoria for the next nine days.

The expedition is part of Bush Blitz – a three-year project to document the flora and fauna of Australia’s National Reserve system. As a partnership between the Australian Government, BHP Billiton, Earthwatch Australia and Terrestrial Ecosystems Research Network (TERN) AusPlots, Bush Blitz teams have identified about 350 new species on eight trips so far. The current trip is especially significant because it’s the first one to be held in an Indigenous Protected Area – the Budj Bim National Heritage Landscape, comprising about 3,000 hectares over several properties.

Woodland at Kurtonitj Open woodland at Kurtonitj, one of the properties that comprise the Winda Mara owned and managed areas.
Image: Mark Norman
Source: Museum Victoria
 

This country is the traditional homeland of the Gunditjmara Nation. Within its rocky, volcanic landscape are ancient structures including eel traps and stone houses. For thousands of years this was a site of major aquaculture efforts where Gunditjmara created pools and channels to cultivate and harvest eels. However Europeans arrived in the 1830s and within 30 years, the Aboriginal population had been decimated and displaced. The Government established Lake Condah Mission to house the people who refused to leave, but in 1919 the mission was closed and in the 1950s the land was reassigned to returning WWII soldiers. But this is a tough mob; in 1996, the Gunditjmara community persisted and they lodged a claim for native title to their lands. It was finally granted in 2007 and Lake Condah was returned to Aboriginal people.

kangaroo A kangaroo eyeing off the Bush Blitz crew at Kurtonitj.
Image: Mark Norman
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Until 1 April, Bush Blitz will be taking a snapshot of the life of this region. There are botanists from the National Herbarium of Victoria and entomologists from the South Australian Museum and the University of New South Wales among the Bush Blitz crew. We’re counting and photographing and collecting to learn more about what lives here – which will, in turn, aid its protection. Working with the Elders of the community and the Indigenous rangers means that the scientists will learn about the ecological knowledge of the Traditional Owners, too.

spotlighting Three MV biologists spotlighting for frogs on the first night at Lake Condah.
Image: Mark Norman
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Uncle Kenny Saunders came to talk to us the night that we arrived and gave us a warm welcome. He spoke about the spiritual and cultural importance of the area to the 300 or so Gunditjmara living locally and the much larger population of Gunditjmara now living across Australia. After telling us his stories he left us with an inspirational challenge – that he hoped these scientific surveys would give him more stories to tell about his country.

Links:

Bush Blitz

Lake Condah Sustainable Development Project

ABC Mission Voices: Lake Condah

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Updates on what's happening at Melbourne Museum, the Immigration Museum, Scienceworks, the Royal Exhibition Building, and beyond.

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