Why is this important?
Victoria has a rich cultural history, some of the oldest known Aboriginal occupation sites in Australia – including stone dwellings, rock art, stone arrangements, earth rings and scarred trees that connect us to generations dating back 40,000 years. Victoria is also rich in landscapes with cultural significance.
With the arrival of Europeans in Victoria the use of land changed dramatically. New cultural heritage places were created, from places where the first contacts between European and Aboriginal people occurred, to massacre sites, missions, protectorate stations and in more recent times, to places associated with the Aboriginal rights movement. (Read more – visit the Office of Aboriginal Affairs Victoria website)
Documenting this history with Aboriginal people is important for ensuring places of cultural heritage significance are protected in local areas. It is also an important way for Councils to value, promote and build community awareness about the Aboriginal heritage of a local municipality, while demonstrating tangible support for reconciliation.
What can your council do?
The 2012 Victorian Local Government Aboriginal Engagement and Reconciliation Survey found that 41% of councils worked with Registered Aboriginal Parties (RAPs) or Traditional Owners to build greater community awareness about Aboriginal cultural heritage and history. Types of activities included developing cultural heritage trails, facilitating educational opportunities and conducting community awareness events. Some councils conduct cultural heritage activities in Reconciliation Week and Heritage Week, include information about local Aboriginal history and cultural heritage in council publications, and place cultural heritage markers at significant sites.