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tabilk~tabilk Indigenous Flora Trail

tabilk~tabilk Indigenous Flora Trail

 

 

In 2021 we welcome a new experience to Tahbilk, the Tabilk-Tabilk Wetlands Indigenous Flora Walking Trail. The Tabilk-Tabilk Indigenous Flora Trail walk is an extension of the Tahbilk Wetlands & Wildlife Reserve walk developed in collaboration with Taungurung Land & Waters Council, Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority, Angela Ten Buuren, Shane Monk, Mick Harding and the Purbrick Family.

 

The family have always felt a deep connection to the tabilk-tabilk landscape. It is a place of peaceful contemplation and reflection.  The colours of the Australian bush is our home, it is where we belong. In 2010 when Hayley Purbrick, 5th generation of the Purbrick family, had an opportunity to spend time with Uncle Roy Patterson, a local Taungurung elder, she didn’t know her life was about to shift.

 

During their conversations about the history and culture of the Taungurung people and their mutual connection to the land they were standing on, Uncle Roy shared a story.  He said

'When we are born a string is tied from our heart to the moon. That is why we always feel connected to the place we are born.'

 

It is likely Uncle Roy did not realise how this story would then shape the future of the wetlands.

In that simple story, he showed us the Australian bush is a part of our collective identity and tabilk-tabilk ‘place of many waterholes’ is the reason why we all came to be here, the abundance of the natural landscape. This humble walk is the outcome of that single conversation.

 

The environmental landscape is in our hearts. All of our hearts.

 

While the Purbrick family is not proud of the way our ancestors severely disrupted the Taungurung people, together with Uncle Roy we all agree we are all custodians of the land and it’s our responsibility to care of it for the next generation.

 

This walk signifies a step in the right direction and we are very proud that together we can be a part of continuing the conversation Uncle Roy and Hayley started 10 years ago.

 

This walk is our collective gift to future generations so that they can continue to learn and we can continue to grow in our understanding of Australia’s first people.

 

Exert - written by Hayley Purbrick - Official Opening

I’ve been taking my walks through the Tahbilk wetlands and wildlife reserve for a while now, so peaceful and beautiful. It is my place for contemplation and reflection. The colours of the Australian bush feel like my home, I feel like this is where I belong. In 2010, just after I had decided to return to the family business, I was lucky enough to have some time with Uncle Roy Patterson, a local Taungurung elder, who gave a welcome to country as part of Native Fish Awareness week. The Taungurung people were the first people to look after this land and have an intimate knowledge of the environment. It was a memorable experience, one I won’t forget.

 

While we talked about the history and culture of the indigenous people he also told me a story that stayed with me. He said, ‘when we are born a string is tied from our heart to the moon. That is why we always feel connected to the place we are born'. This story has never left me and at the time struck at my core. Since then my fascination with the bush has grown and so has my interest in the stories and knowledge of the Taungurung people.

 

The Australian bush has formed a part of my identity and that of Tahbilk which is unshakable. From the derivations of our name tabilk-tabilk, ‘place of many waterholes’, to the reason why we all came to be here, the abundance of this place. The environmental landscape is in our hearts. All of our hearts.

 

As Uncle Roy Patterson and I recognised at the time of our meeting, while I am not proud of the way our ancestors severely disrupted the Taungurung people, we both agreed we are all custodians of the land and it’s our responsibility to care for it for the next generation.

 

This brings us now to our Tahbilk Wetlands tabilk-tabilk Indigenous Flora Trail created in collaboration with the Taungurung Land & Waters Council and the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority and opened on March 31st with a traditional smoking ceremony.

 

This walk signifies a step in the right direction and I am very proud that together we can be a part of continuing the conversation Uncle Roy and I started 10 years ago. This walk is our collective gift to future generations so that they can continue to learn and we can continue to grow in our understanding of Australia’s first people. I look forward to sharing it with you when you next visit.