Managing Country together
We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the Gippsland Water area, the Gunaikurnai people and the Bunurong people, and recognise their strong cultural connection to the land and waterways.
We’ve developed our Inclusion Plan to create long-term opportunities to collaborate with Traditional Owners in the management of Country and heritage that exists on land we manage.
The plan is our pathway to continue to move beyond our compliance obligations so that we strengthen the partnership with Traditional Owners and connection to the Aboriginal community.
The plan puts us in a better position to respond to important changes in the way Traditional Owner rights and recognised and enabled by supporting the self-determination of the Aboriginal community.
By demonstrating our deep respect for Aboriginal culture and highlighting the historical significance and ongoing connection Gunaikurnai and Bunurong people have to Country, we hope to create a culturally safe and respectful environment for Aboriginal employees, customers and visitors.
These works were commissioned from local Aboriginal artists to represent the Country we operate on and reflect the nature of the work we do as caretakers of our precious environment.
Cultural Flow, Alice Pepper 2023
Alice lives in Lakes Entrance with her family and has cultural connections to the Gunnai, Yorta Yorta/Mutti Mutti, Gunditjmarra and Arrernte peoples. Alice is a proud Koorie woman, mum, wife and active community member. She is passionate about the arts and cultural expression through local stories, songs, language and dance that connects her to Country. Alice experiments with different mediums, including possum skins, painting, weaving and dance, practicing the skills and knowledge that has been passed onto her by her elders and cultural specialists.
Story of the art:
In this painting I have used the bright vibrant colours to represents the waterways that flow here on Gunnai/Kurnai country. The vibrant blue represents pristine waters and how we would like it to be for our future generations by all of us working together to care and keep its natural & cultural flow.
Our ancestors and people are depicted in the shape of rock formation at the top and bottom of the picture embedded in the landscape which holds the water. We are always connected to them and follow in their footprints on land, in sky and water they are always looking over us or lifting us up when we need.
Throughout the picture there are many meeting places depicted around our waterways showing our people gathering through Gunnai/Kurnai Country. Our people have always gathered for seasonal ceremonies, sharing of knowledge & cultural traditions. In the middle are the children who our elders are teaching important knowledge and continuing the tradition of oral stories being passed down for many of thousands of years before 1hem.
Knowledge about how to care for our waterways and the importance of only taking what we need and leaving some for others so the fish will always flow In abundance for all. Water is life for all of us including the plants & animals that are our totems.
Also, beside the water there are traditional Gunnai/Kurnai markings that are found in and along the waterways and riverbed in the form of grinding stones used to sharpen stone tools for fishing. Another message within the land left by our ancestors.
Included in the knowledge that is passed down are creation stories that always remind us of how our people travelled through our land and waters. Our creation stories always have special messages in them for us and are visual ways we retain the knowledge. That's why I have included Boorun in this as he is always seen on the waterways and reminds us of the Songlines he followed through country and across the waters and the creation of Gunnai/Kurnai people.
Gippsland Waters original logo of the Spoonbill water bird is included here with the traditional line work of Gunnai/Kurnai and the addition and inclusion of Boorun also painted up is my expression and representation of Gippsland Water working with Traditional Custodians to ensure the waterways are cared for preserved and protected so it will always be there for future generations and we will look over it with pride just how Boorun and the Spoonbill are doing here.
Boorun & Tuk Creation Story" along with other Gunai/Kurnai creation stories can be found at: Stories & Songlines, Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation
Water Connection, Lakeisha Clayton 2023
My name is Lakeisha Clayton I’m a proud Mutti Mutti Bunurong woman. Born in Mildura Vic raised in Brisbane but have always been back to my Father’s Country (in Balranald Mutti Mutti Country) then eventually moved down to Melbourne and worked on Bunurong Country for 7 years. In that time I’ve done a lot of work and also learnt about me and that’s when I started painting. I was always interested in art growing up but never thought that I would actually make artwork that people wanted to buy. All this wouldn’t be if it wasn’t for my Father. He taught me song lines about our dreamtime stories. Can’t thank him enough for what I do now. So now everything I do I do for my younger brothers.
Story of the art:
It means that every waterway brings a connection to our people and many travel far and wide for our resources. Water is our main connection to life. Water brings everyone together.