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Wednesday, 20 Dec 2023

Budj Bim, a World Heritage listed cultural landscape

Budj Bim Rangers

The Tyrendarra Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) on the World Heritage listed Budj Bim Cultural Landscape, is one of Australia’s many stunning landscapes, and the Budj Bim Rangers are responsible for its care.

The Tyrendarra IPA sits on Gunditjmara Country in Victoria, with the southern part of the IPA being almost entirely within the Budj Bim lava flow.

The now inactive volcano on Budj Bim is said to have initially erupted between 30-39,000 years ago, when an Ancestral Creator showed himself to the Gunditjmara.

The resulting lava flows span out 50 kilometres west and south, changing the landscape, and waterways and creating a highly habitable place for the Gunditjmara to live.

The Budj Bim Rangers care for this Country, including Lake Condah, by undertaking cultural burning and waterway management which support the complex waterways and cultural sites.

Half of the ranger team is now women, including a female mentor, Aunty Eileen Alberts, and Senior Ranger, Aunty Colleen Hamilton.

Senior Ranger and Gunditjmara man from Lake Condah, Ben Church says having the female rangers brings a different perspective to the ranger program.

'Having Aunty Eileen as that female mentor is a very valuable role, she holds that space of guidance and building cultural capacity.'

Ben also spoke about the value of ranger programs in providing employment opportunities and working on country being important for mental health and wellbeing.

'It’s the best job I’ve ever had. I love being outdoors and being on country. Working on my Country fulfils my obligations as a Gunditjmara man,' Ben said.

Today, the rangers maintain important cultural heritage sites like the ancient stone kooyang (eel) traps and stone channels, stone house sites and kooyang smoking trees with the remains spread throughout the landscape. 

The Budj Bim Rangers manage three IPAs within the Budj Bim National Park. There are currently 82 dedicated IPAs across Australia which are protected areas managed by Indigenous groups, supported by the Australian Government.

Today, the Budj Bim Rangers work to the World Heritage standards applied to the protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage sites. The rangers also get on the job training for working on country, deliver cultural awareness programs and the Budj Bim Tours.

As part of the tours, rangers highlight caring for country and the partnerships the Indigenous Ranger program offers including working with BirdLife Australia. 

The rangers have been monitoring rare and threatened species of birds, like the Australasian Bittern Bird which is a threatened species of water bird and is seen more in the winter months. 

The Budj Bim Rangers proudly look after their Country, protecting cultural and environmental heritage and provide access for all to enjoy.

Budj Bim Rangers provides positive outcomes for the community, in addition to the 11 Rangers and Coordinator employed by Budj Bim, 3 Trainee Rangers are also currently employed.

The Australian Government has opened the first Indigenous Rangers Program grant round in over a decade, applications close 26 February 2024.

Learn more at or apply now at GrantConnect.

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