Yesterday (Monday 22nd OCtober 2018) the PPWCMA Board and staff were excited to further strengthen their strong relationship with Wadawurrung – Wathaurung Aboriginal Corporation by signing a joint partnership agreement.

Thank you to Wadawurrung Woman, Corrina Eccles, for representing Wadawurrung during the signing.

The agreement confirms our commitment to work with Wadawurrung to increase their participation in NRM and sustainable agriculture.

Together, we will pursue projects that increase the number of Wadawurrung people caring for Country and develop events and activities to connect the Wadawurrung people with their cultural knowledge.

Wadawurrung PPWCMA Partnership Agreement

The Port Phillip and Westernport CMA were honoured to be present last week (Tuesday 9th October 2018) when the Hon. Natalie Hutchins MP, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, formally handed over the title of three Galeena Beek properties in Healseville to the Wurundjeri people.

Galeena Beek was built at the historic Corranderrk site and ran as a cultural centre where the Indigenous population could meet, celebrate their culture, display artwork and engage with the community.

Unfortunately, in the late 1990’s Galeena Beek was closed down. From this point, several businesses have operated out of the site, including an art gallery, wedding reception and restaurant.  These businesses were ultimately unsuccessful and the property was then abandoned.  The property has now been unoccupied for approximately 10 years, with the title being retained by the government.

After many years of campaigning, with the support of many local organisations, the Wurundjeri Council has been successful in obtaining the title The Wurundjeri Council and community have hopes to return the building to its original intended purpose – a cultural centre.

Congratulations to Wandoon Estate Aboriginal Corporation who last night won a National Landcare Award in the Australian Government Partnerships for Landcare category for their work on Coranderrk.

Set up as an Aboriginal Reserve in 1863, Coranderrk closed in 1924, but in 1999, the Indigenous Land Corporation purchased 80 hectares of the property, handing it to the Wandoon Estate. Today, Coranderrk is both a working farm and valuable habitat for threatened species, including the Helmeted Honeyeater and Lowland Leadbeater’s Possum.

The PPWCMA is proud to be one of many organisations partnering with Wandoon Estate to restore environmental health and productivity to the farm, doing so through our Yarra4Life Program, Regional Agriculture Facilitator (Karen) and Regional Indigenous Facilitator.

The PPWCMA nominated Wandoon Estate Aboriginal Corporation and Coranderrk for their original Victorian Landcare Award, which made the eligible for the national award. Read about their Victorian award.

 

The Port Phillip and Westernport CMA has delivered another highly successful Indigenous Wetland and Shorebird Conservation training program.

Delivered in partnership BirdLife Australia, the three-day training (14-16 November 2017) focused on the Port Phillip Bay (western shoreline) and Bellarine Peninsula Ramsar site.

Participants learnt all about wetlands, including bird identification, wetland management and conservation monitoring. They visited the internationally-important Western Treatment Plant at Werribee, Lake Connewarre Wildlife Reserve, Swan Bay and Mud Islands, as well as Thirteenth Beach near Barwon Heads to study the Hooded Plover beach-nesting bird project.

This training program forms part of the Ramsar Protection Program and was funded by the National Landcare Program.

Participants included reps from Wurundjeri Land Council’s Narrp Team, Barengi Gadjin Land Council, Winda-Mara Aboriginal Corporation Budj Bim Rangers, Wathaurong Aboriginal Co Op and Glenelg Hopkins CMA.

The Port Phillip and Westernport CMA has been assisting the Bunurong Land Council  and the Wurundjeri Council to work towards their goals and aspirations for participation in natural resource management.

Bunurong Land Council have successful developed business plan, along with a promotional prospectus. A working draft has been completed and is currently being reviewed by the Bunurong Land Council, PPWCMA and other partners.

The Wurundjeri Tribe Council were able to develop a series of cultural practice workshops which focus on connecting to culture, ecology and country.  The program in broken into three parts – a fibre and weaving workshop, a wooden artefact and implement creation workshop and a workshop to produce three stones axes. Each of the workshops involve sourcing and preparing the materials required in using traditional methods. The Council are required to produce documentation and records of the methods and process for their community and will promote the outcomes to PPWCMA staff in late 2017.

The Wurundjeri Council’s Narrap team members are also strongly pursuing knowledge around the use of traditional fire and thanks to the grants, a team of people to were able to attend the National Indigenous Fire Workshop in Cape York in July 2017.

At the National Indigenous Fire Workshop, participants from all across the country learned first-hand from Balnggarrawarra Gaarraay Melson traditional owners about how to read the country, the animals, the trees, the seasons, and the cultural responsibility of looking after country. Demonstrations and workshops all lead to practicing culture – learning how to make the country healthy by “walking with fire”.

These on-country workshops have been held annually since 2008 and have been developed over the years to strengthen culture and share the importance of getting traditional fire regimes back on country.

The PPWCMA’s Regional Indigenous Facilitator attended the workshop and will be working with the Narrap team to take the knowledge they gained and build it into their business models and plans.

These projects are supported by the PPWCMA’s Regional Indigenous Facilitator and Indigenous Environment Grants, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.

 

With a first glance at the photos below, you could be forgiven for thinking they are from ‘just another workshop’. But that is far from the reality. Actually, they are from an inspirational gathering of people furthering Aboriginal involvement in the planning and management of waterways and water flows in Victoria; a story of growing trust and healing.

The Victorian Government, including Minister for Water Lisa Neville MP, has made a very strong commitment to better understanding Aboriginal values of water and including Aboriginal people in decision-making, and have made it a central component of the new Water for Victoria plan. The Australian Government’s National Landcare Programmehas a similar commitment to Aboriginal participation.

To bring these commitments to life, various projects have commenced in the last few years such as the ‘Towards cultural flows’ project for the Glenelg River and the ‘Water for Country project for the Wimmera River by the Gunditj Mirring, Barengi Gadjin Land Council, Glenelg Hopkins CMA and Wimmera CMA. The workshop participants heard how these projects are taking Aboriginal elders onto country, generating memories and stories that have not been shared for many decades, and helping this knowledge to be passed on to young generations of Aboriginal people and many others in our communities. But the projects are doing more than just sharing knowledge and helping rivers. As one participant at the workshop said, they are “healing” people and creating new trust and bonds for us all to move forward together.

This great gathering was hosted by the Wurundjeri Tribe Land Compensation Cultural Heritage Council Inc.and brought together many other groups including Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations, Wamba Wamba Barapa Barapa Wadi Wadi Peoples, North Central CMA, Melbourne Water, DELWP PortPhillip and the Victorian Environmental Water Holder. Thanks and well done to everyone involved, and keep up the great work.

Our CEO David Buntine and Regional Indigenous Facilitator Rhys Collins were pleased to be part of the gathering to learn about the Indigenous water projects and experience the enthusiasm and collaboration that is growing. We’re also excited that similar projects and partnerships are developing across Victoria for Indigenous fire practices involving Parks Victoria, CFA (Country Fire Authority), Wadawurrung, Wurundjeri and others. These are fantastic steps forward in Aboriginal cultural knowledge, understanding, employment and empowerment, and we’re proud to be a part of them.

 

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