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A Victorian Indigenous site has just made the UNESCO World Heritage List
Written by
Nicola Dowse

The Budj Bim cultural landscape has been formally recognised on the UNESCO World Heritage List, making it the first world heritage property in Australia to be recognised solely for its Indigenous heritage. 

Budj Bim (meaning “big head” in Gunditjmara) is located in southwestern Victoria, about an hour’s drive inland from Port Fairy. The site has been recognised for its sophisticated aquaculture system devised by the Gunditjmara people 6,600 years ago. 

Guide showing visitors through Budj Bim

Photograph: Supplied

Using dams, weirs and stone channels hundreds of metres long, the Budj Bim waterways enabled the Gunditjmara to catch eels throughout the year. The newly anointed UNESCO World Heritage site also features the remains of 300 basalt stone houses, which showcase a former Gunditjmara permanent settlement. 

Gunditjmara Elder Denise Lovett said that UNESCO listing marked “a very special day for our community.”

“This landscape, which we have cared for over thousands of years, is so important to Gunditjmara People. The decision also recognises Budj Bim’s significance to all of humanity.”

Guide showing visitors basalt stone houses at Budj Bim

Photograph: Supplied

Budj Bim cultural landscape is only the second property in Victoria to be recognised on the UNESCO World Heritage List (alongside the Royal Exhibition Building, which was also the first in Australia to be recognised). The site is located in the Budj Bim national park which lies on a dormant volcano and is popular with bushwalkers and campers.

Explore more of Victoria with these 14 beautiful day hikes.

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