Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation (GLaWAC) represents the Gunaikurnai people and their aspirations for native title, cultural heritage, land, water and natural resource management.
GLaWAC is the Prescribed Body Corporate and Registered Aboriginal Party for the Gunaikurnai people and native title claim area. They provide joint management of 10 parks and reserves within the state of Victoria.
GLaWAC works to further the aspirations of Gunaikurnai Traditional Owners and continuously improve the capacity, integrity and independence of the Gunaikurnai people.
The Cultural Connections partnership is supporting GLaWAC to employ a Cultural Project Officer, Wayne Thorpe, to lead the development of cultural heritage interpretive resources that can be used in GLaWAC’s parks and reserves.
Wayne will engage and consult with Gunaikurnai Elders and community to document and record cultural knowledge and stories, as well as undertake research on previous historical recordings of places and stories related to Gunaikurnai and the broader Aboriginal community in Gippsland.
The partnership will also support the employment of local community members to document and record cultural knowledge and stories with Gunaikurnai Elders. This body of cultural knowledge and history will then be used to develop interpretive resources for public use.
The project seeks to engage Gunaikurnai Elders and community, and encourage intergenerational knowledge exchange with the younger generations. It will also create opportunities for Gunaikurnai Elders and community to document, manage, interpret and share their culture and history in ways that are meaningful to them.
The project will also provide opportunities for visitors to the region to experience and learn about Gunaikurnai country from the perspective of Gunaikurnai people themselves.
Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation:
‘We are Gunaikurnai, the First People of our Country. We are the Traditional Custodians of over approximately 1.33 million hectares in Gippsland with five clans*:
- Brabralung people of Central Gippsland
- Brayakaulung people around the current site of Sale
- Brataualung people in South Gippsland
- Tatungalung people near Lakes Entrance on the coast
- Krautungalung people near the Snowy River.
As Gunaikurnai, we see warruk (our land), yarnda (our waters), watpootjan (air) and every living thing as one.
All things come from warruk, yarnda, watpootjan. They are the spiritual life-giving forces, providing us with resources and forming the basis of our cultural practices. We have a cultural responsibility to ensure that it is all looked after.
Our Country possesses a rich Aboriginal culture. Our heritage is strong across our landscape, and Aboriginal cultural sites and artefacts can be found along our songlines, trade routes, mountain ridges and waterways. They remind us about the ways of our ancestors and show our close and continuing connection to Country. The Cultural Connections Program will help us to collect and collate our collective language of song, story and dance. There are many versions of the same stories, each with their own cultural meanings and morals.
We want to get everyone on the same track, telling the same stories and, in doing so, restore our culture, country and language.
We want to encourage Gunaikurnai Elders and community to share their cultural knowledge with younger generations, and for our young people to be involved in storytelling, and preserving cultural history and knowledge using new technologies.’
*GLaWAC respects that interpretation and spelling of these names varies.
Banner photo: Steve Back Photography