• Uncle Denis Rose said the discovery of a new fish trap in the Budj Bim UNESCO World Heritage listed site was quite a surprise. (Uncle Denis Rose/Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owner Aboriginal Corporation)Source: Uncle Denis Rose/Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owner Aboriginal Corporation
Although bushfires have devastated much of the east coast of Australia, one has helped Traditional Owners rediscover cultural heritage.
Madeline Hayman-Reber

3 Feb 2020 - 11:19 AM  UPDATED 3 Feb 2020 - 11:19 AM

Using aerial mapping, UNESCO World Heritage-listed Budj Bim cultural landscape in Victoria's south-west is set to be revisited by experts later this month, after bushfires unearthed a new fish trap.

Uncle Denis Rose from the Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owner Aboriginal Corporation said the trap is a clearly constructed channel about 25 metres in length and is located 70 metres from the oldest trap, leading the group to believe it is part of the same system.

"We had two fires in the Budj Bim heritage area over the past few weeks, and the first fire is in the property with that contains one of the oldest fish traps in the world, we have a fish trap there that has a scientifically accepted date of 6,600 years," Uncle Denis Rose told NITV News.

Mr Rose said the discovery had been quite a surprise to himself and the other Traditional Owners, who regularly trek through the area with tourists.

"We've only had a look at a small area, but the fires have uncovered a fish trap that we hadn't seen before, and we don't think that it's been recorded or registered previously," Mr Rose said.

"We've taken lots of visitors in there, we've done work in there, we've had archaeologists in, we just hadn't seen it because of the high grass cover and other things that were covering it, so this fire has uncovered this particular site."

The Gundij Mirring Traditional Owner Aboriginal Corporation will now invite some experts to complete aerial mapping of the site.

"[There are] also some stone house sites that we hadn't noticed before, and we haven't really had an in-depth look at it yet, but it's certainly on the drawing board," Mr Rose said.

"We'll have some new technology in and some people on the ground to have a look around and see what we can find."