The eel has great significance to the first nations peoples of the south west of Victoria. Dennis Rose is the Gunditjmara Indigenous protected area coordinator. Talking to Black Star Breakfast and Morning Focus program announcer Greg Reid, Dennis outlined the sophisticated way Gunditjmara people made use of the resources of Lake Condah, one of the world’s oldest aquaculture systems, described as “Victoria’s answer to Kakadu”.
Dennis looks back in time to give listeners a whole life perspective from the beginning of how people built stone houses to live in, and also built a network of channels and fish traps to trap the fish and eels that were an abundant food source. Listen here.
An eel trap system at Lake Condah in south-west Victoria, has been carbon dated at 6,600 years evidence of houses and traps have stood the test of time and the peoples resilience, innovation and ingenuity is legendary. In the late 1800s, Lake Condah was drained by European settlers for grazing land. In 2010 – following a native title determination – the lake was re flooded as part of a plan to revive the ecosystem around it.
Archaeological evidence demonstrates that the traditional owners farmed and smoked eels for food that in todays terms would be a large economic enterprise. The story of the eel is a fascinating one as it journeys from the lakes of south west, across Gunditjmara country to the depths of the Pacific Ocean, completing a cycle etched in the memories and stories of the first nations peoples of Victoria.
Greg Reid can be heard on Black Star Radio in Victoria from 10am until 11am weekdays on 3KND Kool’n’Deadly