MORE than a kilometre of bollards and barriers near campsites along the Wimmera River will aim to protect Aboriginal cultural heritage sites.
Parks Victoria and Barengi Gadjin Land Council manage the Wimmera River Heritage Area Park at the Little Desert National Park's eastern boundary, where nine registered Aboriginal cultural heritage sites are present.
These consist of shell middens, earth features, artefacts and scar trees, and a European charcoal pit.
The $100,000 demarcation works included installation of more than 1.2 kilometres of bollards and barriers to keep vehicles away from the fragile sites while ensuring access to the river's edge is uninterrupted.
The works aim to protect sites as visitors and camping return to the area after the COVID-19 lockdown.
New signs recognise traditional owners of the land, the Wotjobaluk, Jaadwa, Jadawadjali, Wergaia and Jupagulk peoples - collectively Wotjobaluk.
Barengi Gadjin Land Council's Stuart Harradine said the cultural landscape was particularly vulnerable to damage from inappropriate vehicle access.
"This project has been important in helping to protect Wotjobaluk cultural heritage in this section of 'Barringgi Gadyin', the Wimmera River," he said.
"The project has realised some of the priorities and actions identified in our 'Growing What Is Good' Country Plan, and we are keen to undertake more partnership projects such as this so we can continue to address key aspirations of the Wotjobaluk people."
Parks Victoria area chief ranger Zoe Wilkinson said the organisation and land council had worked closely together on the project.
"As with most parks and reserves in Victoria, the Wimmera River Heritage Park contains Aboriginal cultural places, the full extent of which is still being understood," she said.
"Parks Victoria and Barengi Gadjin Land Council have a legislated responsibility to protect the area from visitor impacts.
"We have worked closely with Barengi Gadjin Land Council on this project, with two of our Indigenous and traditional owner staff pioneering a new method of bollard and barrier construction."
The Wimmera Catchment Management Authority funded the project through the state government's Our Catchments, Our Communities program.
The project employed an Indigenous on-ground crew.
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