Cul­tural prac­tice re­newed

Shepparton News - Country News - - WOMEN IN AGRICULTURE -

Scar trees were once com­mon in Gun­bower For­est, ev­i­dence of a cul­tural prac­tice span­ning tens of thou­sands of years.

Large sec­tions of bark were ex­pertly re­moved from tow­er­ing gum trees by indige­nous peo­ple and used to make con­tain­ers or ca­noes.

How­ever, with log­ging tak­ing out many of th­ese ma­jes­tic trees and the re­stric­tions on tra­di­tional own­ers prac­tis­ing their cul­ture, scar trees have be­come a thing of the past.

That was un­til re­cently when the suc­cess of a spe­cial project was cel­e­brated.

The Barapa Wa­ter for Coun­try project cen­tres around Barapa Cul­ture Team mem­bers iden­ti­fy­ing, map­ping and record­ing the cul­tural val­ues of the lower Gun­bower For­est to im­prove the man­age­ment of en­vi­ron­men­tal wa­ter.

It in­volves the col­lec­tion of in­for­ma­tion and knowl­edge on the cul­tural and spir­i­tual val­ues of the area and is al­low­ing the voices of the Barapa Barapa tra­di­tional own­ers to be heard in the wa­ter man­age­ment of the for­est.

‘‘To cel­e­brate the suc­cess of the project we gained a per­mit to make a tra­di­tional bark ca­noe, in­volv­ing the Barapa com­mu­nity to con­tinue prac­tis­ing cul­ture on coun­try and cre­ate a scar tree that will tell a story for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions,’’ North Cen­tral CMA project of­fi­cer Pa­trick Fa­gan said.

‘‘To be able to sup­port the Barapa Barapa peo­ple in prac­tis­ing their cul­ture like this is sig­nif­i­cant, and it is his­tor­i­cal.

‘‘We also planted a river red gum and in­stalled a plaque at the Tree­tops Scout Camp, ac­knowl­edg­ing the hard work of Barapa Barapa over the five years of the project, and made pre­sen­ta­tions to par­tic­i­pants and project staff.’’

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