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Koori Cultural Awareness Program at Lake Tyers
It was a lovely cool Sunday morning when 15 local CFA members came down to the Lake Tyers Aboriginal Trust Training Centre for a Koori Cultural Awareness Session. It was a full day session from 10am -4pm that aimed to provide an insight into Aboriginal culture and history.
Peter White from District 11 said it was well worthwhile and helped him to better understand Aboriginal culture; the oldest living culture in the world.
There were a mixture of CFA members who attended from the three local Brigades, Lakes Entrance, Toorloo and Wairewa. There were also four Operational staff members that attended, including the Operations Manager.
The session included a guided tour showing some cultural heritage sites such as a midden site and a scar tree. The facilitator for the session, Shane Charles explained how Aboriginal people of the past made shields and canoes from the bark of trees. He also gave tips on the medicinal uses of some of the local plants.
Shane was supported in the delivery of the session by local community member and CFA member Charmaine Sellings who lives down at the Trust. Charmaine was able to talk about some of the history of Lake Tyers, explaining that when it was a Mission, Aboriginal people were not allowed to leave the site unless they had signed permission.
Shane gave a detailed description of Aboriginal culture and it was very interesting to learn about the foundation of Aboriginal lore and how their society operated for over 40,000 years.
The group also watch some DVD footage about traditional burning and discussed how fire was used in the past to manage the land. This is definitely something CFA wants to learn more about. It seems how Aboriginal people used fire was far more frequent and wide spread than it is today, with traditional use of fire managing the fuel loadings significantly.
“CFA can really improve how we care for country and protect cultural heritage”, said Ops Officer Miles Malcom. Overall, all agreed that understanding more about Aboriginal culture, heritage and history will help them with their CFA roles. Although, the content of the session needs a bit of refinement for use right across CFA this is definitely a session worth considering if your Brigade or District has a large Koori interface.