Come for a yarn on the river

An interactive website which allows people to hear stories of the Glenelg River from Traditional Owners has been launched after three Traditional Owner groups came together to share the river’s stories and culture, bringing the past and present together.

Known as Bochara to Gunditjmara people, Bugara to Wotjobaluk and Pawur to Boandik,the Glenelg River is a boundary and a connection for the three nations – Boandik to the west, Jadawadjali Clans of the Wotjobaluk Nation in the north, and Gunditjmara in the south and east.

The website features videos, imagery, story-telling and species information about the Glenelg River and why it is so important to the Traditional Owners, and is now live online at glenelgriveryarns.com.au

The river system was a permanent source of food and resources through the seasons, as well as an important travel and trade route.  Resources such as fish, eels, textiles and bush medicines are still collected today.

In the Glenelg River Yarns project, Boandik, Wotjobaluk and Gunditjmara Traditional Owners are working together to reconnect with the river and share the cultural values and stories that define it. Many heritage places and cultural sites lie along the river including cultural trees and shell middens.

This project is about spending time together on the river, young people learning from old people, sharing stories about important cultural places, animal and plants; about the ancestors, about the dispossession, forced removal and massacres, and about the Traditional Owners’ continuing connections and obligations to the river.

Gunditj Mirring Aboriginal Water Officer and Gunditjmara Traditional Owner Nicky Hudson said:  “Traditional Owners hold the view that water is linked to the health of people and Country, and we need to be more actively involved in water management. The culture and history of the river helps define how it should be looked after.”

The development of the website and its stories and information, is an ongoing project for the Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation, Barengi Gadjin Land Council and Burrandies Aboriginal Corporation, who will keep adding stories and information to the website in coming months and years. The Glenelg River Yarns project is funded by the Victorian Government through the Water, Country and Community Program.