An Australian Aboriginal UNESCO World Heritage Site - The360 Travel

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  • Wednesday, December 25, 2019

    An Australian Aboriginal UNESCO World Heritage Site

    An Australian Aboriginal UNESCO World Heritage Site

    An Aboriginal site older than the Egyptian pyramids where the indigenous populations of Australia developed thousands of years ago a sophisticated aquaculture network has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

    The Budj Bim cultural landscape in south-eastern Australia was invented by the Gunditjmara nation around 6,600 years ago. The site includes the remains of stone canals built to trap eels from a lake and marsh.

    The site, which contains traces of stone dwellings, also contradicts the myth that the Aborigines were simply nomadic hunter-gatherers with no established colonies or sophisticated means of food production.

    In announcing the World Heritage site on Saturday, UNESCO said the Gunditjmara had established "one of the largest and oldest aquaculture networks in the world".

    Its canals, dikes and dams served to contain the flood water and "create basins to trap, store and harvest" the eel which "provided the population with an economic and social base for six millennia", added the UNESCO.

    Budj Bim, in the state of Victoria, is the first Australian site to enter the heritage list solely because of its Aboriginal cultural significance.

    Other Australian World Heritage sites include the Great Barrier Reef, the Sydney Opera House and Kakadu National Park.

    The Gunditjmara have been demanding this recognition for almost 20 years.

    Tribal eldest Denise Lovett welcomed the inscription. "This landscape, which we have looked after for thousands of years, is so important to the Gunditjmara people," she told SBS. "This decision recognizes the importance of Budj Bim to all of humanity."

    Archaeological research shows that Aboriginal people have lived in Australia for more than 60,000 years.

    But with the arrival of British settlers at the end of the 18th century, indigenous communities lost most of their land, taken by the new arrivals for animal husbandry and agriculture.

    Today, 750,000 Aborigines live in Australia, or 3% of the population. It is by far the most disadvantaged population in the country, particularly with higher poverty and incarceration rates.

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