The People of Budj Bim, Second Edition, June 2022 Engineers of aquaculture, builders of stone house settlements and warriors defending Country By the Gunditjmara with Gib Wettenhall
Only $25 plus p & h for online orders from the em PRESS SHOP
This updated and revised edition covers the story of Australia's first Indigenous community-led nomination bid for World Heritage listing of their cultural landscape. In 2019, the Gunditjmara were recognised through World Heritage listing for their demonstrated technological ingenuity in engineering water flows and managing food resources across the Budj Bim lava flows in south-west Victoria over many millenia. In the face of a varying climate as the last Ice Age ended, the Gunditjmara sustainably adapted their fish trap systems through to the present day, also demonstrating to the satisfaction of the World Heritage Committee, a continuity of culture into the deep past.
In 2009, radiocarbon dating scientifically proved that one of the Gunditjmara's most iconic fishtrap systems is an incredible 6,600 years old, more ancient than the pyramids and at a time when Western civilisation was not even a glimmer on the horizon. An abundant supply year-round of eels, fish and water plants meant that the Gunditjmara could lead a settled life inhabiting stone house villages adjacent to their aquaculture complexes – an experience without parallel in Australia and one worth proudly celebrating.
In the Second Edition of The People of Budj Bim, the Gunditjmara with Gib Wettenhall recount how they persisted over 17 years to gain World Heritage inscribing. In a final added chapter, they talk about the steps they are taking to heal their Country, culture and people from the traumas of the recent past.
The fighting Gunditjmara never gave up their connection to Country. At first contact, the rough and broken ground of the lava flow acted as a fortress. It became the setting for what Robbery Under Arms author, Rolf Boldrewood, called the Eumeralla War, a six year battle fought by Gunditjmara clans against squatters taking over their land.
In 2007, and once again in 2011, the Gunditjmara won Native Title to much of their land, with such access allowing them to make significant archeological gains in piecing together the patterns of their widespread fishtrap systems and associated settlements. World Heritage recognition in 2019 has given an added boost to the Gunditjmara's cultural rediscovery, as well as validation on the world stage that has aided in restoring their confidence and identity.
The 92 page full colour book with two added chapters and images throughout provides an accessible, plain English introduction to the Budj Bim landscape and its Indigenous history. It is aimed at tourists, tour leaders, school groups, the community and the public in general. Funding for research, writing and publishing of the Second Edition by em PRESS was provided by the Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation.
The new edition is once again beautifully designed by Max Marks. The revised and updated Second Edition continues to retail for $25. Visit the SHOP
THE PEOPLE OF BUDJ BIM was the OVERALL WINNER 2011 at the Victorian Community History awards, judged by the Royal Historical Society of Victoria and Public Record Office
Praise for The People of Budj Bim – and click here to see full copies of media reviews
“If ever there was a case for a locale to be granted World Heritage Area status, this new book provides vivid and persuasive evidence for just that. Full marks... for telling the story with such eloquence and clarity.” – Steve Robertson in the Portland Observer
"I wish that when I went on the obligatory school excursion to the Western District as a girl, I had been told the story of the people of Budj Bim. This clearly written, enlightening booklet is not only an excellent teaching tool but also a must-read for anyone who wants the full picture on the history of the Western District." Fiona Capp in The Age. The link to the review is in the Fairfax Newsstore
"A new book makes a wonderful contribution to our knowledge of the heritage of south-west Victoria. This book provides the perfect guide for the visitor wanting to explore the history of Budj Bim, The Mount Eccles National Park and the Kanawinka Geopark. Importantly, it tells the story from the Gunditjmara perspective, a story of ingenuity, tragedy and ultimately triumph." Anne Beggs Sunter in The Ballarat Courier
"This informative and well-researched booklet is not only an excellent teaching resource but also a must-read for any teacher or student with an interest in the living culture of the Gunditjmara." Review in Shine magazine for teachers.
About the author Writer Gib Wettenhall was recommended by Aboriginal Affairs Victoria, then selected to collaborate with the Gunditjmara in writing this book about their landscape and its history as they saw it. He has written a number of Indigenous histories and biographies on a collaborative basis.
RRP $25 92pp Full colour, illustrated throughout Paperback, published 2010, reprinted June 2018. Second Edition, June 2022 ISBN 978-0-9557778-2-0
em PRESS Publishing specialises in Australian landscapes and their historical and cultural contexts. em PRESS is particularly interested in fusing Indigenous, European settler and nature-based readings of the landscape to provide a truer view of our country.