Ballancar Cultural Heritage
A grazing family and Traditional Owners are working together to manage and protect the future of numerous significant Aboriginal cultural heritage sites found on an historic property in southern Queensland.
The property ‘Ballancar’ is owned by Peter and Rochelle Jesser (pictured right) with QMDC's Tim Knox and Geoff Penton, and was the subject of an archaeological study QMDC commissioned, identifying at least nine Aboriginal cultural heritage
sites including scar trees, earth ovens, grinding stones and scatters of stone tools and flakes.
Positioned between Leyburn and Inglewood, ‘Ballancar’ spans 2,300 hectares and was once a camping ground for Aboriginal people as they travelled through the region en route to important cultural gatherings and ceremonies in the Bunya Mountains. Read the case study here.
Weengallon Rock Wells
The Weengallon Rock Wells are located 150km west of Goondiwindi on the edge of the Barwon Highway and are an important cultural site for Aboriginal people of the region.
The rock wells (one of which is pictured right) have recently been restored through a joint effort between Traditional Owners, QMDC, Department of Main Roads and the Waggamba Shire Council.
The restoration involved cleaning out the wells and controlling weed infestations. The Aboriginal Program is in the process of developing a work plan for continued weed control at the site with a specific focus on the Mother of Millions weed.
Inglewood Grinding Grooves
The Inglewood Aboriginal Grinding Grooves are situated on the northern bank of an ironstone rocky outcrop on the Macintyre Brook that flow westerly from the township of Inglewood. The Inglewood Aboriginal Grinding Grooves are situated approximately 25km west of Inglewood on the Cunningham Highway. The Grinding Grooves are within the determined Native Title Lands of the Bigumbul Traditional Owners.
The site is within a Queensland Government Department of Main Roads designated road reserve, which is situated within the Goondiwindi Regional Council precinct.
There are numerous Aboriginal Grinding Grooves on this ironstone outcrop situated as a perfect camping site for Aboriginal occupation. A comprehensive Cultural Heritage Assessment has been conducted and the final Cultural Heritage Management plan is completed. QMDC offers assistance to the Bigambul people to further protect the site.
Keeping Dogwood Creek Salvinia free
Our Rangers worked with the Western Downs Regional Council (WDRC), Biosecurity Queensland and Miles District Landcare to control the spread of the water weed Salvinia. The area of infestation extends from the 'Top Weir' in the North to approximately 5km below the Gil Weir in the South. The total length of the infestation stretches for about 15kms and includes smaller tributaries (ie Paddy's creek) and lagoons in between, overall the infected area was just over 305ha.
WDRC, Rural Service Officers and the Rangers installed floating booms above and below the existing infestation, at inlets of tributary waterways and at various stages along Dogwood Creek for containment and management purposes. Our team played an integral part in the initial construction and placement of containment booms. At least 15 booms were installed prior to Christmas 2013. Floating booms are used as management tools in order to section the infestation off into more manageable areas for more effective chemical application.
The Rangers, using boats with spray units, vehicle spray units, backpacks and canoes the infestation was chemically treated three times prior to Christmas and the fourth round commenced on 2 January, 2014. They worked for several months on the project with the results evident in the images below showing the intense infestation of Salvinia in Dogwood Creek before and after treatment.
Comale Lagoons, Dirranbandi
The Comale Lagoons are part of an ancient river channel situated approximately one kilometre to the East of Dirranbandi. The lagoons are subject to flooding and vary in size and depth depending on rainfall and overflow from the main river channel into the lagoon’s anabranch. However, even at the driest times, the two lagoons generally hold substantial permanent bodies of water separated by a few hundred metres of dry channel
The southmost of the two lagoons (pictured below) on the Town Common measures about 250m (north-south) by 50m (east-west). Both banks feature open Eucalypt forest containing relic older growth as well as a substantial amount of regrowth. The north most lagoon, also on the Town Common, measures about 500m (north-south) by 60m (east-west). It is also surrounded by Eucalypts, though on its western margin these trees are thinly distributed, with most trees in this area being recent regrowth.
Both lagoons are located on a floodplain consisting of black soils and various other clayey deposits. More elevated red sandy deposits, probably associated with the Pleistocene dunefields, are located further to the north and east. Even though campsites (i.e. artefact scatters) are predicted not be present in large numbers around the lagoons, we do know that waterholes like the Comale Lagoons tend to be the focus of other site types, particularly scarred trees (pictured below with our Rangers).
Research has shown that at waterholes with large numbers of trees, many of these have been scarred by Aboriginal people. Aboriginal people procured bark from trees for a variety of purposes, including the construction of shelters, canoes, shields and containers.
Scars on trees also resulted from Aboriginal people cutting toeholds for the purpose of climbing the trees to procure honey or capture animals such as possums.
'Old Camp' Revegetation and Rejuvenation Project - Dirranbandi Gindjurra Aboriginal Corporation
The 'Old Camp' is situated two kilometres west of the township of Dirranbandi on the lower reaches of the Balonne Minor River. The 'Old Camp' has traditionally been considered the main camping area of the Aboriginal people of the Dirranbandi district. The close proximity of the 'Old Camp' to the rich hunting grounds of the flood plains between the Culgoa River and the Balonne Minor and to the swamp area abundant with wildlife to the south-east ensured the site was a great camping, hunting and gathering site.
In the mid-1990s the land was granted as a Deed of Grant in Trust (DOGIT) to the Aboriginal people of Dirranbandi via a trusteeship to the Dirranbandi Gindjurra Aboriginal Corporation. The purpose of the grant is that the Trustees can only use the land for cultural and natural resource management purposes. Dirranbandi Gindjurra (the Trustees) have identified projects that would enhance the cultural significance and resource value of the 'Old Camp'.
Native Trees and Bush Tucker Garden Project
The QMDC Aboriginal Rangers along with Traditional Owners across the Maronoa-Balonne and Border Rivers catchments are working together to put together a book outing Aboriginal Bush Tucker. The book will provide readers with a look at what Traditional food are in the area and what Aboriginal Traditional Owners used as foods in the old days and today. The booklet is an ongoing project with new foods being added through seasons and new growth.