Indigenous Consultation in the formation of Gippsland Immigration Park’s Heritage Walk

On one page of Heritage Making and Migrant Subjects in the Deindustrialising Region of the Latrobe Valley, when discussing multiculturalism and Indigenous Australia more broadly, I stated that I couldn’t find evidence that the committee behind the Gippsland Immigration Park consulted with local Indigenous groups when formulating the panels for their Heritage Walk. I’ve since been corrected – Graham Goulding (retired teacher, local historian, and member of the Gippsland Immigration Park Committee), provided me with further information, which I will share below. I missed this, and I didn’t interview Graham; the research for the book focused on non-Anglo, migrant members of the Committee. I contacted GLAWAC, but did not receive this information or follow-up with them. And although the point is not pivotal to the wider arguments contains in the book, it was my oversight.

Graham recounts that, while developing the Heritage Walk, they spoke to Traditional Custodians Doris Paton and later to Lloyd Hood “to explain what we wished to do and seek their approval”. Graham also spoke to Christine Johnson, who at that time was working with the Koorie Unit of the TAFE College. They met with GLAWAC on a couple occasions, and the GLAWAC CEO came to Morwell to look at the site. GLAWAC was invited to prepare some panels for the Gunaikurnai section of the Walk, “but they asked us to prepare the panels and have them approved by GLAWAC. For the first panel we asked Ronald Edwards, a local Gunaikurnai artist, [his work on the nearby Aboriginal Waterhole Creek Cultural Heritage Trail is discussed on page 27] if we could use his painting of the creation story and he gave his approval.” The local Brayakaulung Advisory committee to Latrobe City also provided positive feedback to the panels.

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