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Uncovering Indigenous heritage

05 Feb 2019

To ensure cultural heritage and values are protected during major infrastructure project works, a Cultural Heritage Management Plan is prepared in line with the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006.

With the aim of learning about and preserving the rich Indigenous heritage of Carrum and surrounds, our team has led archaeological excavations of the rail corridor together with the Bunurong Land Council.

Aboriginal heritage dig in Carrum

Archaeologists and Traditional Owners used a mechanical sieve to sift and search the soil for artefacts.

Along the rail line

Rail corridors are prime locations for archaeological excavation as they remain relatively untouched throughout the years. In 2016 our archaeologists assessed a series of test pits along the rail line, uncovering more than 100 items for examination. The team dug a further six pits, each one metre deep, before rail cabling was installed. The deeper the team went, the more insight they had into the lives of past generations.

What we found

More than 20 potential artefacts were bagged for assessment and, to date, 16 have been confirmed as traditional tools. The 16 confirmed traditional tools were likely once used for catching and scaling fish. These items range in length from 20 to 60 centimetres and are made of silcrete, quartz, quartzite and hornfels.

Bunurong Land Council

We thank the Bunurong Land Council for their invaluable support and advice during these excavations. This Traditional Owner organisation represents the Bunurong people of the South-Eastern Kulin Nation, and aims to preserve and protect their sacred lands and waterways, traditional cultural practices and stories.

Artifacts removed from the heritage dig in Carrum

Cultural significance

Did you know…

Carrum and surrounding suburbs have long been identified as a area rich in cultural history. Originally a swamp and catchment area, this is a prime location for archaeological surveys with Kananook Creek and Patterson River providing evidence of vast food sources such as fish, birds and other wildlife.

This painting of Carrum Carrum Swamp is on display at the National Gallery of Australia.

Edithvale-Seaford wetlands

Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands

Read the PDF version of this community update PDF, 1.3 MB

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