Project update - First meeting of the Community Reference Group

The Community Reference Group for the Porronggitj Karrong and Aqueduct project met for the first time in November last year.

Barwon Water and Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation welcomed 15 community members to the group, which will meet quarterly to provide input into the project.

A key task for the group will be to contribute to a Heritage Interpretation Plan for the aqueduct. The group will also provide feedback on a Healthy Country Plan for the site, in a process led by Wadawurrung Traditional Owners.

The next meeting will be in the first quarter of 2022.

Aqueduct update

In early 2022, works will begin to remove vegetation under and beside the aqueduct.

The works to add a propping structure under the aqueduct to help conserve it, will begin from April 2022. Four of the 14 spans of the aqueduct will be removed across the river, to enable safe public access along and beside the river.

The works will take some months to complete, and will need to take place while the floodplain is relatively dry.

Barwon Water’s heritage advisors Lovell Chen will prepare a Heritage Interpretation Plan with input from the Community Reference Group and the wider community in 2022. It will be finalised within 12 months of the completion of the works.

Barwon Water has engaged a specialist recordist to take hundreds of photos, a video and a 3D structure recording, for use in the Heritage Interpretation Plan. Final recordings will be completed after vegetation underneath the aqueduct is removed.

Porronggitj Karrong update

The vision for the site is for ‘a balanced ecological system incorporating Wadawurrung traditional values, for our community to connect, listen and learn from Country.’

Barwon Water and Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation have been gathering information, and are aiming to trial a range of traditional land management practices. We will engage with stakeholders to develop a Healthy Country Plan for the site, in a process led by Wadawurrung Traditional Owners.

Palaeobotany research is being undertaken and will give information about past vegetation, evidence of fire and waterways. It involves taking a core soil sample, to reveal information going back thousands of years. (Palaeobotany means identifying plant remains in rocks and soil and so on.)

Cultural burning for a small part of the site is planned, and information is being gathered about the plants, birds and animals found on the site.

At the meeting, Community Reference Group members heard the story of Bundjil, the Wedge Tailed Eagle, who created the country, rivers, hills, animals and humans. Bundjil created a resting place, Lal Falls. One of Bundjil’s wives is Connewarre the black swan. For Wadawurrung people, it is important that Lal Falls and Lake Connewarre are connected. Porronggitj Karrong sits in that system, as the Barwon River runs from Lal Lal Falls to Lake Connewarre.

Porronggitj Karrong is the working title for the project, and means ‘Place of the Brolga’.

New resources on the website

Drone footage taken in August 2020 gives a good overview of the site for those who would like to check it out.

We have also made available historic photographs of the aqueduct during its construction, plus a list of flora and fauna found on the Porronggitj Karrong site.

A short video about the project is also available and will be shared on social media channels.

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