Indigenous Communities

and the Environment

Deen Maar Indigenous Protected Area

Deen Maar Indigenous Protected Area

Map showing the location of Deen Maar Indigenous Protected Area,VictoriaSouth-west coast of Victoria, near the community of Yambu | Declared in November 1999

The IPA covers 453 hectares of rolling sand dunes, limestone ridges, river, lake and wetlands, located in the South East Coastal Plain bioregion.

The area is home to many wildlife species, including the endangered orange-bellied parrot, which has a total known population of fewer than 200 birds.

Purchased by the Framlingham Aboriginal Trust in 1993, this land is of special cultural significance to local Aboriginal people. It has a spiritual and visual connection with Deen Maar Island (Lady Julie Percy Island) where Bunjil, the Creator, left this world. The land and its story are connected to Gariwerd (the Grampians National Park).

Deen Maar was the site of deadly conflict between Aboriginal people and squatters in the mid-1800s, commonly known as the Eumerella Wars. The remains of Aboriginal people involved in the conflict are protected by the Deen Maar IPA.

From the mid-1800s the land was used for primary production. The wetlands were drained and vegetation removed. The country became a haven for pests such as rabbits and weeds. At the time of its purchase the old grazing property was badly eroded and overrun by feral animals. IPA management is helping the community revegetate the area with native plants, restore water flows to wetlands, control rabbits and weeds, and construct access paths and tracks.

The wider community has been involved in field days and planting excursions, and each winter Aboriginal elders invite people from Melbourne to plant around 10,000 trees. The cultural exchange and relationships built through these working bees help spread the word about how special Deen Maar is.

Deen Maar is managed using a mix of traditional land management practices and contemporary western techniques. This exciting approach to landcare combines the best in current technology with the wisdom and knowledge of the land’s traditional custodians. Extensive restoration at Deen Maar is showing significant results, with the return of many bird species and the germination of numerous native grasses and herbs thought to have disappeared. About 20 orange-bellied parrots have been discovered on the Deen Maar IPA, representing around 15 per cent of all the parrots that survive anywhere in Australia.

The declaration of Deen Maar IPA in July 1999 was made under International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Category VI – Managed Resource Protected Areas: Protected Area managed mainly for the sustainable use of natural ecosystems.