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Aboriginal interpretive experience at Melaleuca


A unique Aboriginal interpretive experience, the Needwonnee Walk, has been created at Melaleuca in the Tasmania’s remote south-west.

The 1.2-kilometre boardwalk in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area weaves through the moorland, forest and edge of the lagoon.

Its sculptural installations interpret some of the Needwonnee people’s historic story. Their homelands extended from Port Davey to the New River lagoon.

The Minister for Environment, Parks and Heritage, Brian Wightman, said the walk marks a turning point in the interpretation of Tasmania’s extraordinary Aboriginal heritage.

“The Needwonnee Walk experience is unlike any other,” Mr Wightman said.

“Unlike most interpretive attractions, these installations are made from materials that won’t last. Over time, they’ll wear away and return to the landscape.

“That means the scenery constantly change over time, providing regular opportunities for participants to celebrate their traditions by refurbishing huts or create new installations.

“It’s a fitting tribute to the Needwonnee people, who lived a transient lifestyle, with homes and tools that were mobile, not permanent.

“This walk is the product of a remarkable partnership between the Tasmanian Aboriginal Land and Sea Council (TALSC) and the Parks and Wildlife Service.

“I want to thank and congratulate both groups for their passion, co-operation and hard work. It’s a fantastic achievement to be proud of,” he said.

The installations include a mix of traditional and contemporary pieces – evoking the memory of the Needwonnee people and providing insight into today’s Aboriginal community.

Visitors can expect to see a traditional campsite, including huts, tools, hearthfire and even a paperbark canoe - all created from materials in the surrounding forest.

The chair of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Land and Sea Council (TALSC), Kylie Dickson, said partnership projects like this one provide mutual benefits for both communities.

“Working alongside each other to construct the track and the interpretive installations has been great for everyone involved,” Ms Dickson said.

“For the Aboriginal community, practicing our traditions and sharing our stories are essential to ensure the continuity of our heritage,” she said.

The project was funded by the Australian Government Jobs Fund. An interpretive booklet and DVD were produced as part of the package.