Local Aboriginal Fish and Eel Traps

This documentary explains how fish and eel traps were made, how they worked, and why they were so important for the Gunditjmara people who lived around Lake Condah (Tae Rak). Year 8 students – Alannah, Kirsty, Molly, Amy and Aimee produced this documentary after time spent researching the topic, visiting Lake Condah and speaking with local  Budj Bim tour guides.

Budj Bim Documentaries

Year 8 students recently researched some of the fascinating history and geography of the region surrounding Budj Bim (aka Mount Eccles).  They studied topographic maps of Lake Condah (Tae Rak) and delved in to a number of information sources (including the wonderful books ‘The People of Budj Bim’ by the Gunditjmara people and Gib Wettenhall, as well as the ‘Field Guide to Cultural Features of the Budj Bim Landscape’ by the Gunditj Mirring Partnership Project).

Students also visited and explored Budj Bim, the Lake Condah Mission and the Tyrendarra Indigenous Protected Area.  Most of the photos shown in the documentaries were taken by Year 8 students during this excursion.

During the excursion, Budj Bim tour guide and Gunditjmara elder Eileen Alberts showed several students the basics of basket-weaving.  A number of students were keen to find out more and Eileen generously agreed to visit the school for a more in-depth basket-weaving workshop with Year 7 and 8 girls and female staff.

The documentaries were an opportunity for students to share some of their newfound knowledge about Budj Bim with the general public.

Basket Weaving with ‘Aunty’ Eileen Alberts

On Wednesday, local Gunditjmara elder Eileen Alberts visited the school to share her eel basket weaving skills with a small group of primary and secondary girls and female staff.   Eileen told of how this traditional skill was almost lost due to fears among indigenous women that passing on such knowledge would result in their children being taken from them by the authorities.  Fortunately, however, these skills were not lost and now a new generation of Hawkesdale girls are among a very select few in the entire world to know some of the basics of eel basket weaving.  One day, they may even pass this knowledge on to their own daughters!

Eileen’s visit was spearheaded by Year 7 students Kiara and Caitlyn, who were very interested in Gunditjmara weaving techniques following an excursion to the Tyrendarra Indigenous Protected Area.  Many thanks to Eileen, as well as Kiara and Caitlyn.