The Gunditjmara peoples' Country, their relationship to Country, their innovation and their custodianship was recognised at a global level with the inclusion of the Budj Bim Cultural Landscape on UNESCO’s World Heritage on Saturday 6 July 2019.
The strongest protection of our cultural sites is achieved when others learn to care and, today, the world has said they care.
"In us lives a culture that extends through time but, at the end of the day, we drive modern cars, eat modern food, live in a modern context and we apply our understandings of cultural identity to a modern world. Today the modern world has acknowledged our ancient lineal connection to culture and Country, forged over tens of thousands of years."
Rodney Carter, Chairperson
As a Council of Traditional Owners, we understand the work and commitment made by the Gunditjmara peoples to have their ancient lineal connection to Country recognised. We applaud their strength and resilience in succeeding.
There are many of us who have had the opportunity to be exposed to our culture. It shapes identity and is a lived spirituality fundamental to the wellbeing of our communities through connectedness across generations. Our cultural heritage has been passed from the Ancestors to future generations through today’s Traditional Owners whose responsibilities are profound and lifelong. We as first people, with education and understanding, can share our culture with the world.
“We support the Gunditmara peoples in contributing to the cultural conversation for the protection of significant Aboriginal site within the state. It is important that we work collectively to ensure all Aboriginal groups’ cultural rights are respected and recognised.”
Geraldine Atkinson, Council Member
In the first week of commencement of the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006, on 30 May 2007, the Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owner Corporation in Victoria’s south west were the first Aboriginal party to be to better protect and manage their cultural heritage. At the time, then Chair of the newly formed Council, Ricky Mullett, said “this is an important first step towards giving Aboriginal communities the decision-making power to manage and protect their cultural heritage at the local level – which is what traditional communities have wanted for a long time.”
The inclusion of Budj Bim on the World Heritage List, the first site in Australia to be included solely on cultural values, is another significant first step for the Gunditjmara peoples. We encourage all Traditional Owners to follow in their footsteps and let the world look with awe on our culture, the oldest living culture on earth.
Reviewed 23 June 2021