Two Bundjalung men are undertaking archaeological monitoring and simultaneously gaining employment skills at the reconstructed Wilsons walking track in East Lismore, which is currently under construction.
The $200,000 project will see the resurrection of the old walking track from Robinson’s Lookout in Girards Hill to Albert Park, with interpretative signage about the history of the area.
The two brothers – Peter Faulkner, 34, and James Roberts, 29 – were engaged through Ngulingah Local Aboriginal Land Council to provide skilled labour, with James also looking for Aboriginal artefacts.
James has done work before through Ngulingah as a ranger in Nimbin, and the skilled labourers are gaining employment skills as well as helping to preserve historic Aboriginal items and sites that may be uncovered.
Ensuring Aboriginal involvement in the project aligns with Council’s reconciliation action plan objectives and continues Council’s commitment to providing opportunities for Aboriginal workers.
Construction of the Wilsons walking track is being undertaken by Track Work Solutions, a company that has been involved in trail-building around Cradle Mountain in Tasmania, with the archaeological monitoring conducted by Everick Heritage Consultants.
Tim Hill from Everick Heritage Consultants who are providing the archaeological monitoring said it was wonderful to have the Bundjalung men working on country and building their skillset at the same time.
‘They are here primarily to respond if an original site is identified and ensure that it is managed,’ Tim explained.
‘However, the bigger picture is that most of these historic tracks, particularly on the ridgeline, were traditional tracks that connected lowland to highland, and now we get this great fusion of white fellas and black fellas coming together to reopen them.
‘Also, they are learning skills and awareness around how to build trails, construction, erosion, site monitoring and other really solid foundational skills for working on country. These types of skills are good on their CV if they want to go for a job with someone like National Parks and Wildlife.’
The new track is expected to open this October if the weather stays dry.