Budj Bim
Image credit: Cafuego on Flickr
(CC BY-SA 2.0)

An extensive system of water channels in Budj Bim believed to have been built by the indigenous Gunditjmara people approximately 6,600 years ago has been further exposed following the recent bushfires. The fire was caused by a devastating lightning strike in the state of Victoria in late December 2019 and spread three square miles.

The aquatic system was added to the UNESCO's World Heritage List in July last year but this recent event has revealed that it was much larger than originally thought. In a recent article by CNN Gunditjmara representative Denis Rose, project manager at non-profit group Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation commented on the discovery saying that a previously hidden 25 metre channel had been discovered among others.

According to UNESCO the Gunditjmara people used the system of channels to redirect waterways and improve their aquaculture yield. Mr Rose said that over the next few weeks they are hoping to conduct a comprehensive cultural heritage survey to check areas that previously were not recorded. He emphasised how important this system was as it provided a rich and sustainable life for the traditional people – and continues to be important for their cultural life.

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