Cul­tural trail in the works along Ovens River

North East Tourist News - - Wangaratta -

AN El­ders Rock has been placed at Apex Park to hon­our lo­cal com­mu­nity lead­ers every year on the an­niver­sary of Na­tional Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Week.

It’s an idea thought of by the late Un­cle Wally Cooper, who passed away last De­cem­ber, and it will form part of the Bullawah Cul­tural Trail, a path that stretches 2.4km along the Ovens River in Wan­garatta.

The $180,000 trail will tell a story of the area’s Abo­rig­i­nal her­itage and how a lo­cal tribe has lived his­tor­i­cally and to the present day.

A large crane de­liv­ered the 20 tonne rock dur­ing Fe­bru­ary and it will sig­nify the be­gin­ning of the trail.

Un­cle Wally was a highly re­spected El­der whose pride in his Abo­rig­i­nal her­itage and mes­sage for hope for the fu­ture in­spired many.

“This is a re­ally ex­cit­ing step to­ward achiev­ing the El­ders Rock Project and we are pleased that Un­cle Wally’s pas­sion for rec­on­cil­i­a­tion will con­tinue and leave a legacy for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions,” Cen­tral Hume Pri­mary Care Part­ner­ship’s Chris Thorne said.

“Each year dur­ing Na­tional Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Week, the Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der com­mu­nity will pub­licly recog­nise lo­cal com­mu­nity lead­ers in a spe­cial cul­tural cer­e­mony and will un­veil their hand­prints on the El­ders Rock.”

The large gran­ite rock, which will form the foun­da­tions for the sculp­tures, has also been placed along the trail.

Artists An­der­son Hunt and Paul Blizzard in Wan­garatta se­lected rocks from Maw­sons Quarry.

The rocks will be home to their much an­tic­i­pated sculp­tural art­works they are de­vel­op­ing with lo­cal El­ders.

Chair ad­min­is­tra­tor Ailsa Fox said “it’s great to see this project come to­gether, there will be a lot hap­pen­ing in the com­ing months and it is fan­tas­tic to see re­la­tion­ships strengthen be­tween In­dige­nous and non-in­dige­nous peo­ple in the lo­cal com­mu­nity who are all work­ing to achieve a shared goal”.

The Bullawah Cul­tural Trail is due for com­ple­tion this Au­gust.

This project was made pos­si­ble through grants from Re­gional De­vel­op­ment Vic­to­ria and Depart­ment of Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment, Jobs, Trans­port and Re­sources and the Ru­ral City of Wan­garatta.

PHOTO: Luke Plum­mer

THE BE­GIN­NING: A crane was used to po­si­tion an El­ders Rock at Apex Park dur­ing Fe­bru­ary and it will act as the start of the Bullawah Cul­tural Trail.

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