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Report on the Living Country Culture Camp, 'The Gully' 2010
13 Sep 2011

Living Country Culture Camp The Gully 2010

Midday on Friday 19th November 2010 marked the start of the 3rd Living Country Culture Camp held in The Gully at Katoomba. The camp was hosted by The Gully Traditional Owners and the Six Aboriginal Language Groups of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area.

After previous culture camps held at DunnÂ’s Swamp or Ganguddy in the Wollemi National Park in 2008, and last years camp at Jenolan Caves, the World Heritage Unit of National Parks and Wildlife Service once again co-ordinated this important project under the direction of the Aboriginal Reference Group (ARG) for the GBMWHA.

The Living Country Culture Camps are an annual event held in different locations in and around the 1.03 million hectares of Country. These camps are an initiative of the ARG through the NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service as part of the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water. The camps are designed to address the aspirations identified by the Aboriginal communities under Co-Management of the World Heritage Area. These include getting Aboriginal people back on Country and developing understanding and support for Aboriginal Co-management.

The difference with this years camp was that it was held in The Gully, a declared Aboriginal Place which is local bushland managed by Blue Mountains City Council (BMCC) in a co-operative agreement with the Gully Traditional Owners. Planning for the camp brought together the NPWS, BMCC and the GTO who all had representation on the steering group for the camp which met regularly since April 2010. The camp was open to everyone where Aboriginal and non Aboriginal people came together in this celebration of Co-Management and as part of the festivities around 10 years since the GBMWHA was declared.

The camp begun under cool and wet conditions with a smoking, Welcome to Country and opening ceremony followed by Elders from the Aboriginal community providing personal stories and experiences. The Culture Camp then swung into action with tool workshops by the fire, dinner, entertainment, music and dance performances on Friday night before camp participants spent their first night camping in The Gully. A corroboree in honour of Uncle Mervyn Cooper was held on Saturday morning under brilliant blue skies as were workshops, childrenÂ’s activities and guided tours of Blue Mountains National Park with Discovery and Aboriginal Discovery Rangers. Saturday night included more dancing under the bright moonlight, an open campfire, story telling, song and more. After a relaxing Sunday morning breakfast, a number of reflection art works by camp participants were presented to the Elders at the closing ceremony of thanks and farewells.

For more information on Aboriginal Co-Management of the GBMWHA or to see more images from the camp, go to: www.livingcountry.com.au and stay tuned for more information leading up to the next Living Country Culture Camp in November 2011.

Community Culture Environment Indigenous Aboriginal Co-management
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