Caution: This website includes images and names of deceased people that may cause distress to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Gunditjmara and Kirrae Whurrong country
Warrnambool region, Victoria
For thousands of years, Gunditjmara and Kirrae Whurrong peoples farmed kooyang (eels) through engineering a complex system of channels, dams and weirs. Explore how their cultural connections are still alive today through harvesting eels and traditional weaving.
Match the event to the date
What do you know about Warrnambool?
Learn about an ancient weaving tradition
Watch Gunditjmara Elder Aunty Eileen Alberts describing how she learned how to weave.
Activity: Have a class discussion about why Aunty Connie Hart was reluctant to teach weaving.
Activity: Look at the images above, then create a model or draw a picture of an eel trap.
Activity: Gunditjmara Elder Aunty Eileen Alberts said: ‘I guess since 1788, we have been doing this adaptation all the time … not a compromise but a new way of doing an old thing. The old ways won’t sustain a future for you, but you need to practise your culture to truly be who you are.’
Find out about some ‘old ways’ in your family. It might be a skill or trade that your parents, grandparents, aunt, uncle or an older friend learned when they were young. Is this skill still in use? Has it been adapted, lost or replaced over time?
Activity: Visitors responded to questions as part of our Encounters exhibition on show in Canberra. Look at the responses to the question ‘What story or skill has been passed down to you?’ on our Articulate website. Pick one response that you find particularly interesting or surprising. Explain why.
Meaning of objects
Activity: Gunditjmara and Yorta Yorta man Thomas Day said: ‘When I go on country I’m looking for a small window into the past, to see what it may have looked like once.’
Chose an old object that interests you. It might be something at home, at school or in your community. Investigate its story. What is it made of? How is it made? Who used it? When? Why?
Using the results of your research create your own ‘window in time’. Paint, draw, or write your response to create a glimpse of the past for your reader or viewer.