Killara Kooyang Water Project
For thousands of years, the Gunditjmara people farmed Kooyang (migrating short-finned eels) using an ingenious network of fish traps and holding ponds, etched out of the volcanic terrain of the Budj Bim lava flow. This tradition was abruptly ended when colonial settlers laid claim to these lands. The Gunditjmara people have long worked for the restoration of this industry.
In October 2018, Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation was successful in securing funding for the Killara Kooyang Water Project, through the Aboriginal Water Program’s Economic Development Initiative.
This project enables the restoration of the Kooyang farming with the establishment of a pilot, aquaculture facility at the Lake Condah Mission, with water accessed from the Budj Bim Cultural Landscape. The project also includes growing a native food garden and aims to be ‘off the grid’ by installing a solar and battery system.
The facility will support research into modern Kooyang production, while providing employment and training opportunities for several Gunditjmara people and become integrated into the celebration of Gunditjmara culture, life and people that is the Budj Bim National World Heritage Landscape.
DELWP visit to Budj Bim, Killara Kooyang aquaculture trial site
Kooyang – short finned eels
|Partners||Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation, Federation of Victorian Traditional Owner|
|Related Strategies||Water for Victoria|
Wattle seed orchard
As part of their ventures into native foods, the Winda-mara Aboriginal Corporation has established a wattle seed demonstration trial on its Chetwynd farm.
To protect seedings from predation, Budj Bim Rangers first constructed a rabbit and kangaroo fence around the one-hectare site. In June 2020, after site preparation, 800 trees, made up of nine wattle tree species, were planted with a fertiliser tablet placed under each. Despite some losses due to birds, the wet spring and mild summer, meant that by March 2021, 85% of seedlings had survived with some trees over 1 m high.
To stimulate growth and help shape the trees, pruning will be undertaken later this year. The first seed harvest is expected in 2024, at which time the most suitable and productive of the species will be identified.
All going well, the demonstration trial will help determine the feasibility of establishing a long-term Wattle seed enterprise on the farm. With the longer-term vision being the establishment of a for-profit, bush foods enterprise that provides employment and cultural connection for the community.
Wattle tree seedlings March 2021, with Trainee Budj Bim Ranger Yikira Agnew
|Partners||Winda-mara Aboriginal Corporation, Glenelg Hopkins CMA|
|Investors||Australian Governments Regional Land Partnerships|
|Related Strategies||Victorian Traditional Owner Native Foods and Botanical Strategy|