Working with Ngunnawal Traditional Custodians

Acknowledgment of Country

Namadgi National Park is a place of historical and ongoing significance to the Ngunnawal people. The Ngunnawal people are the Traditional Custodians of the Canberra region with a continued cultural, spiritual and historical connection to the area. Evidence of Ngunnawal occupation of the Canberra region stretches back over tens of thousands of years where cultural, social, environmental, spiritual and economic connection to these lands and waters has been maintained in a tangible and intangible manner.

A word from the Dhawura Ngunnawal Caring for Country Committee

The Dhawura Ngunnawal Caring for Country Committee would like to acknowledge the work of ACT Government in their engagement with the committee during the time of the Orroral Valley fire. The committee appreciates the work that was undertaken to include Ngunnawal people in the decision making processes to protect Ngunnawal cultural sites and objects and being able to be part of the ongoing fire recovery process.

The committee would also like to extend our thanks for the opportunity that was provided to the committee and the United Ngunnawal Elders Council to visit Namadgi National Park post fire to see the damage and to visit one of our significant cultural sites to begin the healing process.

The ongoing partnership between the ACT Government and the Ngunnawal people has great value to the Ngunnawal people and the committee would like to acknowledge the work that has been done to recognise and support the cultural rights of the Ngunnawal people in the management of Country.’

Ngunnawal cultural heritage recovery response

Aboriginal cultural values are embedded in tangible places and objects found throughout Namadgi National Park and Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, such as ceremonial sites, rock art sites, cultural trees, grinding grooves and artefact scatters.

Known Ngunnawal heritage sites that are located within the fire effected area included 700 archaeological sites, six rock art sites, 12 stone arrangements, and a number of timbre sites. Many more unrecorded Aboriginal heritage sites are likely to occur within the impacted areas, as an extensive heritage assessment of the park has not been complete.

Timbre sites (e.g. scar trees) are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of fire, but fire can also cause exfoliation damage to rock art and stone arrangement sites.

Thanks to the efforts of our fire crews, many key Ngunnawal heritage sites were protected from the worst impacts of the bushfires and floods. Fire management activities undertaken included placing containment lines around priority sites, slashing and backburning activities. Wooden board walks and other fuel was also removed from around Yankee Hat rock art site.

ACT Government is working with heritage experts, qualified archaeologists and the Ngunnawal community to conduct assessments of known heritage sites and containment lines around Namadgi.

These assessments will help inform how these sites are restored and managed as part of the long-term recovery response.

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