Indigenous Communities

and the Environment

Lake Condah IPA | Lake Condah IPA

Lake Condah Indigenous Protected Area

Heywood, Victoria | Declared in April 2010

"Gunditjmara will conserve Lake Condah. It is an important Gunditjmara place and we have fought hard over many generations to see it returned to us so that we can heal this land. Gunditjmara will restore the natural abundance of the lake and its native plants and animals for us today and our future generations"
Ken Saunders, Gunditjmara Elder

Lake Condah | Lake Condah IPA

Lake Condah | Lake Condah IPA

Lake Condah Indigenous Protected Area is made up of 1,700 hectares of significant wetlands and stony rises right next to the historic lava flows of Mount Eccles National Park in south-west Victoria.

The area is part of the Budj Bim National Heritage Landscape listed in 2004. Lake Condah was included in the listing because of its outstanding cultural heritage value for all Australians.

Like other volcanic plains properties next to it, Lake Condah is home to nationally significant species including tiger quoll, intermediate egret, great egret, powerful owl, barking owl and common bent wing bat. The property's unique contours and landscape formed when Mount Eccles started erupting some 20,000 years ago. Gunditjmara people share the knowledge of their ancestors and elders about how an ancestral creation revealing himself and creating the Budj Bim landscape.

The Kerrup Gunditj clan at Lake Condah had traditionally engineered an extensive aquaculture system at Lake Condah. Other Gunditjmara clans along the Budj Bim landscape worked together to establish kooyang (eel) trapping and farming systems, developing smoking techniques to preserve their harvest - probably one of the first cultures in the world to do so.

They continued to live and work on their country in a highly complex society until Europeans arrived in the region. As pastoralists moved further into south-west Victoria, the stone country of Lake Condah became a sanctuary for Gunditjmara people providing eels, possum and kangaroos for the families.

Evidence of the stone trap systems that Gunditjmara used for thousands of years still remain on the property.

A goal of the Gunditjmara is to engage their people back in the landscape, in eel and fish havesting using traditional methods, and use their traditional knowledge to support land and water management.

Today the Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation oversees the management of the property on behalf of the Gunditjmara.

The corporation has invested in many projects to improve the health of the cultural and natural heritage of Lake Condah, including wildfire prevention measures and management plans, development of tourism ventures, conducting plant and animal surveys, reviving traditional ecological knowledge and measures to protect the water levels at Lake Condah.

Like all Australia's Indigenous Protected Areas, Lake Condah IPA is part of the National Reserve System - our nation's most secure way of protecting our cultural heritage and native habitat for future generations.

Declared in April 2010, Lake Condah IPA is managed under the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Category VI, as a protected area with sustainable use of natural resources.

 

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