Communities gather for cultural event
An earth oven re-creation at Dimboola at the weekend represented increasing focus on celebrating culture, country and community partnerships in the region.
A traditional owner-led event on Horseshoe Bend on the banks of the Wimmera River celebrated Wotjobaluk culture through showcasing cultural practices.
The Community Gathering: Bakang Dyakata Earth Oven Re-creation was designed to reconnect communities and share and promote cultural ideas for the benefit of traditional owners and their future generations.
The main showcase involved the creation of a traditional Aboriginal earth oven, which communities used for cooking foods such as murrnong, also called yam daisies.
The family event included a dance workshop, clap-stick making, basket weaving and musical singalongs with Australian singer-songwriter Neil Murray.
It followed a gathering on the banks of the Wimmera River at Dimboola earlier this month to make a bark canoe from a red gum tree, where families and groups learnt about the traditional technique and celebrated cultural practices.
Wimmera CMA Aboriginal water officer Ben Muir said the events followed feedback from the ‘Community Gathering – River Yarns’ event earlier this year. He said when traditional owners and other Aboriginal community members, volunteer groups, historical societies and local and state government representatives travelled from Horsham to Lake Albacutya for River Yarns, it highlighted an opportunity for more traditional owner-led activities and sharing of knowledge.
“Last weekend’s event and the bark-canoe event are part of an ongoing focus on groups working closely to document and celebrate cultural values, stories, memories and the Aboriginal community’s connection to the Wimmera River,” he said.
“It’s all about working together to create opportunities to build confidence and cultural knowledge through the generations with the support of the broader community.”
‘Community Gatherings’ bring together traditional owners, Barengi Gadjin Land Council, Wimmera CMA, Goolum Goolum Aboriginal Co-operative, Parks Victoria, Aboriginal Victoria, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and other key supporters from the broader Wimmera community.
RE-CREATION: Neil Murray and Aunty Nancy Harrison at Bakang Dyakata Earth Oven Re-creation at Dimboola. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER