On Saturday 4 March 2023, the Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation (ILSC) and the Taungurung Land and Waters Council (TLaWC) came together with community to celebrate the return of the Garden Range Rock Art Site.
In 2019, TLaWC sought assistance to acquire the culturally significant 23-hectare parcel of land in the Garden Ranges, Euroa, Victoria. The ILSC granted $265,000 for the purchase of the site, as well as fencing to halt degradation by livestock and other costs.
The parcel of land contains two rock art sites estimated to be over 22,000 years old and as the site is particularly unstable and fragile, its exact location will remain in the trust of TLaWC.
TLaWC CEO, Matt Burns explained the significance of the milestone.
“The acquisition of the Garden Range rock art site from the ILSC is of substantial cultural significance to the Taungurung people, exemplified by a history that dates back more than 20,000 years,” said Mr Burns.
The Garden Range Rock Art Sites are a series of four rock shelters that feature paintings using natural pigments, with the largest shelter displaying 172 motifs.
The culturally significant art provides further evidence of the Taungurung People’s connection to this Country that extends thousands of years.
Acquisition of the site allows the Taungurung People to reconnect with their traditional land after many years.
“The return of this land will enable us to care for Country using techniques passed down by our ancestors, ensuring the location is preserved and protected for all Taungurung people – present and future – to see,” said Mr Burns.
ILSC Group Chief Executive Officer, Joe Morrison, emphasised the inseparable connection between the Taungurung People and their Country.
“The return of this site, and the profoundly important story within, is a reminder of the long-standing and un-broken connection between Taungurung People and their Country,” said Mr Morrison.
The ILSC wishes Taungurung all the best in their future endeavors to protect and nourish their people and Country for future generations.