Work on upgrades to the Bundian Way commenced last Monday, after the Commonwealth Government provided a $70,000 grant towards a series of projects under its Indigenous Heritage Program (IHP).
Noel Whittem, the Bundian Way’s new manager, said the funding would be put towards a multi-component project that combines to tell the story of the ancient Aboriginal pathway, which extends from Mt Kosciuszko (Targangal) to Fisheries Beach (Bilgalera) at Twofold Bay.
One of the major aspects of the project is the building of the Bundian Way Tourist Trail around Twofold Bay, which Mr Whittem says will provide a much more accessible alternative to the existing heritage trail, while also providing employment opportunities for Koori youth.
“Due to fact that 99% of the population won’t walk the heritage trail all the way from Mt Kosciuszko, we thought that we would put in a trail around Twofold Bay, and tell the story of the Bundian Way along that trail,” he said.
“There are employment opportunities for Aboriginal people too, as tour guides and so on.
“We’ve got some elders who could do that now, but they’re not going to be around forever, so we’ve got to get the young people involved and get that message to them that they have this opportunity for their future, and help them to be able to stay around Eden.
“This is something they can get employment out of, and also celebrate their culture and develop a sense of pride at the same time.
“That’s what it’s all about really; getting that traditional knowledge from the elders to the young people, so it can then be passed on to the wider community where appropriate.”
The new trail will start at Snug Cove and head around the coast, at times through bushland, and across the Nullica Rivermouth.
Part of the trail will include an eight-metre wide viewing platform, which the Bundian Way committee hopes to build at Oman Point.
The location overlooks several of the landmarks along the Bundian Way, including Fisheries Beach and Mt Imlay, and also has space to build a car park and picnic area.
Mr Whittem said the trail will combine well with the arrival of cruise ships in Eden, helping to create a new tourist attraction for the area.
“The idea is that when the cruise ships come in, we’ll take them out to Oman Point to the platform.
“Obviously we can’t take the cruise ship visitors out on the heritage route because of time constraints, but people will be able to get off the boat and walk to the Twofold Bay track.
“It’s all got to be run through the Land Council and the elders, but I’m sure they will support it because they seem to be happy up until now.”
Other aspects of the project to be funded by the grant include upgrades to Jigamy Farm, through planning for a self-guided heritage walking trail, upgrade of a Bunan ring for cultural performances and the installation of multimedia devices which tell the story of the Bundian Way.
The Bundian Way will also launch the AWAY program, which will focus on the Monaro yam fields, and construction of yam propagation facilities at Jigamy Farm.
This component of the projects primarily aims to train and educate young indigenous women and school children, but also the general public as part of the Bundian Way Gateway information centre and cultural tourism.
Under the terms of the funding agreement, all work on the project must be completed by the end of June.