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Rediscovering Ginninderra:
Yeddung Dhaura

'Yeddung Dhaura is the name given to a former Aboriginal campsite on the headwaters of Ginninderra Creek in the suburb of Forde, ACT – not far from the ACT northern border. It has been given provisional entry to the ACT Heritage register. The following is edited extracts from the ACT Heritage Council's Decision on Provisional Registration (27 May 2001).

The Yeddung Dhaura campsite is testament to traditional Aboriginal lifeways and the enduring cultural connection to the land of present-day Aboriginal peoples. The material remains demonstrate that the Place was a focal point of community activity in the Gungahlin region, returned to on numerous occasions in the past, and connected through the activities of the Aboriginal peoples to other locations in the landscape. Within the conservation area a substantial portion of remains have been preserved in situ and all previously excavated artefacts have been returned to country within the delineated area.

Yeddung Dhaura is contained in Block 1, Section 111, Forde. This location is classified as urban open space. It is adjacent to several roadways and contains water quality control ponds, therefore pathways, signage and recreational infrastructure have been included in the area for public use. The conservation zone preserved 40% (2514 m2) of the known archaeological deposit in situ, including 86% of the deposit with greater than the average artefact incidence.

The location, landscape setting and artefact assemblages relating of the Yeddung Dhaura site provide evidence for the traditional Aboriginal lifeways in the ACT that were disrupted by colonisation. The place is a campsite located close to the headwaters of the Ginninderra Creek. The Ginninderra Creek is a pathway known to have been used by Aboriginal people and its significance is linked to a number of prominent locations, both in the immediate area as well as downstream. With its proximity to several known stone and ochre sources, the broader area surrounding Yeddung Dhaura was a regional location for the collection of resources. The Place has one of the highest concentrations of excavated stone artefacts in the ACT. Aboriginal peoples returned to this Place on multiple occasions possibly using it as an itinerant campsite when collecting resources and moving in the cultural corridor along Ginninderra Creek pathway nearby.

The in situ nature of the remains within the landscape and relatively high density of the stone remnants contained therein make the Yeddung Dhaura assemblage uncommon, with regards to other stone artefact scatters in the ACT. These attributes demonstrate that this area was a focal point for Aboriginal cultural activities in the ACT.

Yeddung Dhaura is a notable example of Aboriginal campsites in the ACT. It is one of only a few known archaeological artefact assemblages in this region with comparably high artefact densities, which implies the relative intensity of Aboriginal presence, and the only one located in proximity to the headwaters of the Ginninderra Creek pathway. Much of the site has been preserved in situ within the nominated area meaning that it is far more intact than other known campsites containing high densities of artefacts, such as Pialligo or Macgregor West.

Although this place is a good example of campsites in the ACT, the artefact collection is fairly typical of material objects that are found in many other known Aboriginal campsites. The significance of the site lies not in the creative and technical achievement of the artefacts contained therein, but rather in their density, intactness and location.

The in situ preservation of material artefacts within this place is significant to the Aboriginal community for the role for demonstrating an enduring physical record and spiritual connection with the traditional Aboriginal way of life, since disrupted by colonisation. Although the precise location of the artefacts were not known to the Aboriginal community prior to the archaeological works they are in fact evidence of a known attachment to this region for the collection of resources and pathways of movement along the Ginninderra Creek. Once identified, the preservation of this locality became a priority for the Aboriginal community, who also advocated strongly for a return to country of the excavated artefacts in order to maintain the on-going social, cultural and spiritual associations to this place in perpetuity'.
[Edited extracts from Decision about Provisional Registration]


Notifiable instrument NI2021–321

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