New walking track celebrates Gunaikurnai culture
Thursday 25 August, 2022
Visitors to Gippsland Lakes Reserve can now experience a better understanding of Gunaikurnai culture with a newly installed walk through the beautiful landscape of Raymond Island.
Completed in June, the 1.7km walk on Tatungalung Country passes through coastal banksia forest and features a yarning circle and interpretive signage that reflects the knowledge held by Traditional Owners, with a focus on traditionally used plants in the area.
The Gunaikurnai have a deep connection with Raymond Island and the Gippsland Lakes. The lake waters in particular were abundant in food and resources and enabled people to travel to the open ocean and up and down the coast.
Accessible only by ferry, Raymond Island is one of ten parks and reserves jointly managed between the Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation (GLaWAC) and Parks Victoria. Completion of this project means visitors now have better access to more of the island, which has been a favourite location for spotting koalas and enjoying the native flora and fauna.
The upgraded nature trail connects with the existing Koala Walk that goes through the township and into the edge of the park. Parks Victoria is working with East Gippsland Shire Council to link this project to the township walking track experiences and the planned ferry park.
In addition to upgrading and connecting existing tracks and visitor carparking, improved and directional signs has been installed to make the track easy to follow.
Work to upgrade the track was completed by the GLaWAC Natural Resource Management Team in June. The Raymond Island Nature Trail is the first project to be delivered under the Victorian Government’s $120 million Flagship Tourism Projects program aimed at building better visitor infrastructure to entice more tourists to Victoria’s regions.
The project received $350,000 in funding to upgrade the existing trails and create a walking loop as part of the government’s broader Visitor Economy Recovery and Reform Plan that seeks to grow annual visitor spending to $35 billion by June 2024.
For more information about Gippsland Lakes Reserve on Raymond Island go to gunaikurnai.org/our-country/joint-management/gippsland-lakes-reserve/ and www.parks.vic.gov.au/places-to-see/parks/raymond-island-gippsland-lakes-reserve.
Quotes attributed to Harley Finn, Cultural Ranger, Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation
“We are proud to be able to share our culture with the broader community so that they can understand our values and our obligation to care for Country.”
“This project is a reminder that we’re all connected and that we all need to work together if we want to make improvements in our Parks.”
“Providing better access to this part of the island means more people can learn about its deep history, enjoy being in nature, and spot the area’s koalas, shorebirds and wildflowers.
“Working with Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation and the local community has been the key to this project coming to life in the way it has.”