NAIDOC celebrations are held around Australia in the first full week of July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The week is celebrated not just in the Indigenous communities but also in increasing numbers of government agencies, schools, local councils and workplaces.
When some of us look across the Victorian Volcanic Plains and we see remnants of native vegetation and other aspects of the natural environment such as the distant volcanoes, but sometimes we overlook the strong cultural aspects and heritage that remain for the Aboriginal community that may remain near our feet. Reference is often made to the aboriginal techniques of burning of the grasslands and woodlands to maintain the plants that were used for food and fibre etc.
So if you are interested in celebrating some of the culture of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, being aware of the common food and use plant is a good way to begin, and while the yam daisy or murnong often springs to mind, there are many plants and some fungi to consider.
As may be expected after thousands of years of living in a country there still remains physical evidence of the activities of the Aboriginal people. If we are land managers or anyone undertaking major earthworks we need to look out for and be aware of the potential to disturb or destroy cultural heritage. These sites include freshwater middens, grinding stones, rock art, scarred trees and tools. Check out the Aboriginal cultural heritage mini-poster series. Further information is also available for landholders at this link