Healing Country Through Community: Restoring Resting Places

Healing Country Through Community: Conserving Natural Environments and Aboriginal Burial Sites

Over 10,000 years of Aboriginal Ancestral Remains are at risk of being uncovered and exposed, many have already suffered this terrible indignity. People and Parks Foundation, on behalf of Traditional Owners - First People of Millewa Mallee (Ngintait, Latji Latji and Nyeri Nyeri) are calling on the wider community to help provide funding to restore and stabilise Aboriginal Burial Sites in the north west of Victoria, protect these sites against future erosion events, and repatriate Aboriginal Ancestral Remains to Country. If we act now, the damage is reparable, and further damage is preventable.

Victoria’s semi-arid zones and sand dunes in the North-West of the state are under threat from erosion that's been exacerbated by:

  • feral animals (predominantly rabbits and wild cattle) 
  • illegal 4WD activities

Uncovered Aboriginal Ancestral Remains as a result of environmental degradation have been found and have causedgreat distress to Aboriginal people. 

What's Going Wrong?

  • Hundreds of burial areas, ‘cemetary dunes’ span the regions between Barmah National Park in the east to Murray Sunset National Park in the west, in layers over 10,000 years old
  • Accelerated erosion damage has resulted in cultural crisis
  • Few locals or visitors are aware of the problem

4 - FWD damage

Deep trenches are the result of illegal off-road vehicle activities.

11 - Damage from pests - rabbits

Rabbits are digging holes, and uncovering ancestral remains.

9 - FWD damage - erosion

The devastating effects of erosion caused by a number of human and animal impacts.

What can we do to help?

People and Parks Foundation is working closely with the local Aboriginal community and Parks Victoria to address much-needed conservation activities in Victoria’s north west. We are helping to raise funds in order to deliver the following outcomes:

  • Conserve sand dunes containing Aboriginal burial areas in North Western Victoria
  • Maintenance activities to protect sand dunes and burial sites
  • Raise awareness among visitors to the region and locals to minimise the potential for future erosion events
  • Ensure a positive parks-based experience for everyone

It's too big a job for the local Aboriginal community alone - a multisectoral partnership approach is urgently required.

People and Parks Foundation is seeking support from individuals, organisations and government to deliver improved environmental outcomes for the region. Please visit our website and make a donation*, your contribution is greatly appreciated. 

*Donations $2 or more to People and Parks Environment Trust are tax deductible in Australia. For more information about how you can support this important project, please contact People and Parks Foundation: info@peopleandparks.org.

3 - Returning Aboriginal Ancestral Remains

6 - Remediation works - filling in the trenches

The innovative practices being undertaken to return Aboriginal Ancestral Remains requires sensitivity to and expert knowledge of Country.

8 - Remediation of land damaged by FWDs

12 - Regrowth as a result of protection works

Encouraging re-growth of native plants in degraded areas will help stem erosion events.