Project maps significant sites

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Gairdner River cultural mapping.
Camera IconGairdner River cultural mapping. Credit: Amanda Keesing

Caring for the Gairdner River has been put at the forefront of the Jerramungup community with the launch of a new Cultural Heritage Action Plan last month.

The plan is a product of the Cultural Mapping and Management of the Middle Gairdner River project, which involved six weeks of research.

Local Noongar elders worked with archaeologists and the Nowanup Ranger Team to document important places.

The report covers information such as where artefacts remain and need to be protected, looking after gnamma holes (water sources), weed infestation and old camping areas.

Gondwana Link’s Keith Bradby said the middle Gairdner area was important to Noongar families and included some significant sites.

“Few had been mapped, some were being damaged by erosion, and some, such as the burial ground, needed major work to ensure the sites were stabilised and recognised better,” he said.

“Even though the Noongar importance of the area was known to a number of people, it was not widely known and was poorly documented.

“It is also about respect of the traditional owners, utilising their knowledge of the landscape to better care for it and acknowledgement and valuing their traditional knowledge and connection.”

The project was funded through a grant from the State Natural Resource Management program.

Mr Bradby said the main survey area was north of the national park.

“This was not only a key wood-land area where Noongar people lived pre-European — it was also a main area for initial contact, with many Noongar families working on the Hassell sheep station that was established there in 1850 and operated well into the 20th century,” he said.

The group will continue to work with the Shire and landholders to improve the recognition and protection of important areas.

The cultural map is the first of its kind for the Jerramungup area.

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