MERRIMANS Local Aboriginal Land Council has begun to scope and gather the details for the second stage of the Wallaga Lake Aboriginal Cemetery project, which will identify and protect burials and improve the management of the Wallaga Lake Aboriginal Cemetery.
Experts have already used ground penetrating radar to identify more than 160 possible unmarked burials, in addition to the 60 marked graves in one of the oldest cemeteries on the coast.
The community is also planning several working bees to clean out vegetation to allow the next stage of the radar survey.
The project is being carried out on behalf of the community in a partnership with Eurobodalla Shire Council and will start to involve members of the community next month.
Community consultation will start in the first week of September when the project will be gathering oral history recordings within the cemetery grounds.
In September, preliminary marking of unmarked burials will also take place and people who are able to help identify particular burials are also invited to contact council’s anthropologist.
There will be a discussion on Monday, October 20 about the cemetery’s plan of management for its long term maintenance and protocols.
Eurobodalla mayor Lindsay Brown said the project’s archaeologist Sue Feary and anthropologist Susan Donaldson were keen to talk with people who have historical information or knowledge about the cemetery.
“Eurobodalla Shire Council is excited to be part of the project,” he said.
“By identifying and conserving the burial sites at the Wallaga Lake Aboriginal Cemetery, it will improve the community’s capacity to use and maintain the site into the future.
“The Wallaga Lake Aboriginal Cemetery Project aims to ensure the cemetery, which has been in operation since 1901, is used respectfully in the future.”
The project is funded by the Australian Government’s Indigenous Heritage Program and will develop a ground penetration radar (GPR) survey, a Plan of Management that will include a burial register and a landscape survey plan.
If you have something to share and would like to take part, please contact the anthropologist overseeing the project, Susan Donaldson, on 0405 183 751.
If you would like to take part, register your interest by contacting Merrimans Local Aboriginal Land Council on 4473 7288.
Travel assistance is available to help you get involved.