Caring for Country

Uncle Norm Eccles, Liam Murphy, Cr Liz Pattison, Corrina Eccles.jpg

Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation (WTOAC) has been engaged by Surf Coast Shire Council to provide traditional land management services on Country, an arrangement that is the first of its kind for Council.

This week WTOAC’s Gobata Dja (Caring for Country) team carried out revegetation and erosion management works at Djarrak (Bells Beach), with plans for these services to be undertaken at other sites of cultural significance to Wadawurrung.

The works support delivery of WTOAC’s Healthy Country Plan, Paleert Tjaara Dja, and its vision ‘Wurrggurwilwa gupma bengadak Wadawurrung’: all people working together to make Wadawurrung Country and culture strong.

Partnership work like this strengthens the relationship between WTOAC and Surf Coast Shire Council to make Country good together.

NRM team planting 2.JPG

WTOAC CEO Liam Murphy said: “I am proud of the achievements our Gobata Dja (Caring for Country) team have made over the last two years; particularly establishing a framework so that Traditional Owners are back on Country, protecting and healing places that have been cared for by Wadawurrung people for tens of thousands of years. We are grateful for the ongoing support of Surf Coast Shire Council and allowing for the opportunity for Wadawurrung Traditional Owners to once again care for Country.”

WTOAC Natural Resource Management Manager Chris Fagan said: “Doing this land management out at this beautiful piece of Dja that in Wadawurrung language we call Djarrak otherwise known as Bells Beach, is a massive milestone for Wadawurrung. It is a special place for our Mob and building on an already great relationship with the Surf Coast Shire Council, this allows us to be back out on Dja looking after it, so in return it will then look after us and everyone that enjoys it.”

Surf Coast Shire Mayor Cr Liz Pattison said: “Wadawurrung people have been caring for these lands and waterways and their creatures for tens of thousands of years. It’s so important that sites of cultural and environmental significance like Djarrak are protected for generations to come. Engaging Gobata Dja to undertake land management work on Country supports Wadawurrung co-management of land and ultimately, self-determination: Traditional Owners managing their Country.”

This project is supported by the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority, through funding from the Australian Government’s Bellarine and Great Ocean Road Dunecare Coastal Management Grants Program.

/Public Release. View in full here.