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Reinstating indigenous landscape planning curatorship : the Lake Condah restoration project
conference contributionposted on 2011-01-01, 00:00 authored by D Bell, David Jones
While contemporary Western planning traditions in Australia talk of the last 200 years of innovation and transposition of European and North American planning traditions upon the Australian landscape, they neglect to mention some 40-50,000 years of Indigenous landscape planning initiatives and practice. The ancestral country of the Gunditjmara people is in the Western District of Victoria focused upon the Lake Condah and Mount Eccles localities. The Gunditjmara had, and continue to have a strong social, cultural and land management and planning presence in the region, in particular linked to environmental engineering initiatives and aquaculture curatorship of eel and fish resources. Archaeological evidence confirms that some 10,000 years of pre-European contact landscape planning practice has been applied by the Gunditjmara to construct resources management infrastructure to service a regional food need as well as a community need. Within contemporary reconciliation discourses, the Gunditjmara have activity sought over the last 25 years the rehabilitation of Lake Condah, which is now coming into fruition, and the restoration of their traditional landscape planning and management responsibilities. This paper reviews the restoration of Indigenous landscape planning and management theory and practice by the Gunditjmara, pointing to significant policy and practice success as well as the need to better appreciate this culturally-attuned and ecologically-responsive approach to landscape planning borne out of generations of knowledge.