A new World Heritage site for Aboriginal engineering

The Budj Bim Cultural Landscape, located in the traditional Country of the Gunditjmara Aboriginal people in south-eastern Australia, consists of three serial components containing one of the world’s most extensive and oldest aquaculture systems. The Budj Bim lava flows provide the basis for the complex system of channels, weirs and dams developed by the Gunditjmara in order to trap, store and harvest kooyang (short-finned eel – Anguilla australis). The highly productive aquaculture system provided an economic and social base for Gunditjmara society for six millennia.

For many thousands of years, the Gunditjmara Aboriginal people have been re-engineering their landscape at the top of the Newer Volcanics Province in southeast Australia in response to volcanic eruptions and changes in climate. The Budj Bim site was last month designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization as a World Heritage site.
The Gunditjmara continue to use these traditional mechanical and engineering practices. Their resilience, relationship with and management of the landscape are a striking example of adaptation to changes in climate and land use.

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