The Australian Government has submitted a nomination for Budj Bim Cultural Landscape to be included on Australia’s World Heritage Tentative List, the first step in formally nominating it for World Heritage status.
Budj Bim in Lake Condah, Victoria, is one of Australia’s earliest and largest aquaculture systems.
A formal World Heritage nomination for the Budj Bim Cultural Landscape will now be prepared by the Victorian Government and the Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation with technical support from the Federal Government. If successful, it will become the first Australian place World Heritage listed solely for Indigenous cultural values.
Dating back thousands of years, Budj Bim shows how a large, settled Aboriginal community systematically farmed and smoked eels to provide food for themselves and as an economic and social base for trade.
It’s a part of Australia’s history that has international significance as it is one of the earliest known aquaculture systems around the world. Adding the Budj Bim Cultural Landscape to the World Heritage Tentative List is the first step in the process of this important place being recognised internationally.
Around 30,000 years ago a volcanic eruption created lava flows that changed the drainage pattern in the area, creating large wetlands. The Gunditjmara community then developed this landscape through the construction of an ingenious system of channels, fishtraps and weirs which provided ideal conditions for growing and harvesting eels.
The Gunditjmara Aboriginal people should be congratulated for their tireless advocacy and ongoing commitment for recognition of the international significance of this remarkable site. Today visitors can learn about traditions associated with eel farming and the ongoing ecological management of Gunditjmara country.
If added to the World Heritage List Budj Bim will be Australia’s 20th World Heritage place.
In recognition of its outstanding significance to Australia, Budj Bim was the first place to be added to the National Heritage List when it was created on 20 July, 2004. The site’s important heritage values are protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
For more information go to www.environment.gov.au/heritage/places/national/budj-bim
See our Australian Heritage article Eel farmers of the Mount Eccles Lava Flow, written by archaeologist Dr Heather Builth, here.