Cultural practice renewed

By Country News

Scar trees were once common in Gunbower Forest, evidence of a cultural practice spanning tens of thousands of years.

Large sections of bark were expertly removed from towering gum trees by indigenous people and used to make containers or canoes.

However, with logging taking out many of these majestic trees and the restrictions on traditional owners practising their culture, scar trees have become a thing of the past.

That was until recently when the success of a special project was celebrated.

The Barapa Water for Country project centres around Barapa Culture Team members identifying, mapping and recording the cultural values of the lower Gunbower Forest to improve the management of environmental water.

It involves the collection of information and knowledge on the cultural and spiritual values of the area and is allowing the voices of the Barapa Barapa traditional owners to be heard in the water management of the forest.

‘‘To celebrate the success of the project we gained a permit to make a traditional bark canoe, involving the Barapa community to continue practising culture on country and create a scar tree that will tell a story for future generations,’’ North Central CMA project officer Patrick Fagan said.

‘‘To be able to support the Barapa Barapa people in practising their culture like this is significant, and it is historical.

‘‘We also planted a river red gum and installed a plaque at the Treetops Scout Camp, acknowledging the hard work of Barapa Barapa over the five years of the project, and made presentations to participants and project staff.’’