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Photo by Andy Townsend

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Chauncy Vale Activity Day 2022


Over 100 people attended the Chauncy Vale Activity Day on September 25th. Of particular interest was the ‘walk on country’ organised by representatives of the Aboriginal community. Participants learned about the intimate connection between indigenous people and country and the importance of that connection for the health of both.

It became clear that resources required for survival are plentiful in a healthy landscape. Country was described as their supermarket and hardware store. Foods such as native cherry, sagg rushes, and a variety of seeds were identified and explained. Preferred materials for spear making were pointed out and there was an explanation of the spear throwing prowess of the ‘Pakana/Palawa’ people.

The ‘walk on country’ included the Chauncy Vale caves where there was a facilitated period of silence for immersion in the sounds and presence of the bush. There was also a demonstration of hand stencilling. The significance of cultural practices such as rock art and petroglyph carving was explained.

It was interesting to hear a perspective about the health of country in Tasmania. What may appear to be a biodiverse and healthy system to us can be considered depleted or ‘sick’ country from an indigenous point of view. Regeneration of country can proceed through implementation of a ‘healthy country plan’ incorporating traditional indigenous knowledge and practices such as ‘cultural burning’, for which a practical demonstration was given.

There was plenty for children to engage with at the Activity Day: a Discovery Ranger, Nature-be-in-it, and the Wombat Woodland Walk. The Tasmanian Land Conservancy ran an interesting session on identification and habitat of woodland birds and Heather Chauncy was present at Day Dawn Cottage to talk about the Chauncy family cultural heritage and her family’s vision for creation of the Wildlife Sanctuary.

A similar event is planned to be held again next year.

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Discussion about ‘country’ and the resources it provided for the Pakana/Palawa people. Photo: Graham Green

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