Tyrendarra Indigenous Protected Area
Victoria | Declared in December 2003
Tyrendarra Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) was declared in December 2003. The 248 hectare IPA sits on Darlot Creek, a tributary of Lake Condah near Portland in the Victorian Volcanic Plain bioregion.
The IPA's ancient volcanic landscape was created by the spectacular eruption of Budj Bim (Mount Eccles) around 27,000 years ago. This region is a traditional meeting place and camping area for the Gunditjmara people - the land is part of major Dreaming trails and an important ceremonial site. Tyrendarra is owned and managed by the Winda-Mara Aboriginal Corporation on behalf of the Gunditjmara people. Tyrendarra features the remains of a large, settled community that systematically farmed eels for food and trade in one of Australia's earliest and largest aquaculture ventures. The remnants of Indigenous engineering works include weirs, channels and eel traps, as well as settlements of circular stone dwellings. These complex enterprises were carried out in a landscape imbued with spiritual meaning for the Gunditjmara.
Nationally recognised for its archaeological, cultural and environmental importance, Tyrendarra IPA forms part of the Budj Bim National Heritage Landscape - one of the first places to be listed on Australia's National Heritage List in July 2004. The Winda-Mara Aboriginal Corporation manages the Indigenous heritage values of the landscape, in addition to land and resource management activities carried out on the IPA.
The management of Tyrendarra IPA centres on reinstating the pre-1840s wetlands system, supporting the consequent regrowth of the manna gum woodland, managing introduced plants and animals, and establishing an eel aquaculture industry as a sustainable business venture. A cultural rehabilitation plan is also guiding cultural landscape restoration. These aims are supported by IPA activities such as repairing and upgrading infrastructure on the property, controlling weeds and feral animals, building visitor boardwalks and interpretative signage, and replanting trees and shrubs. Over 5,000 trees and grasses planted in 2004 and 2005 were destroyed by bushfires in January 2006, along with 90 per cent of the property's vegetation. Despite this devastating blow, new seedlings have been planted from locally grown seed, with the assistance of International Student Volunteers.
Tyrendarra IPA is managed in line with World Conservation Union Category VI - Managed Resource Protected Area: Protected Area managed mainly for the sustainable use of natural ecosystems.