ANU Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Trail: Walking Through Past, Present and Future

The ANU, in collaboration with the four Representative Aboriginal Organisations in the ACT region, have developed a self-guided walk through ANU and surrounding areas.

ANU Heritage, who also employed an Indigenous undergraduate student as an intern for the project, invited people of the Ngunnawal, Ngambri, Ngunawal and Ngarigu groups onto campus to share stories of the landscape and its cultural significance. The walk was then mapped using these significant locations, and includes Sullivans Creek, Black Mountain and scarred trees.

The walk also guides visitors to sites and buildings on campus that house Indigenous studies or related research; areas that support Aboriginal staff and students; and places where student activism around Aboriginal lands rights has occurred.

The walk opens with welcomes from all four Indigenous groups, as well as a welcome from ANU Vice-Chancellor Brian Schmidt.

Participants will be able to find the walk listed on the ANU Walks app following the project launch in April. A paper brochure will also be available. Major points around the route will be marked with signs containing information, and the starting point will be located at the edge of Fellows Oval near the Hancock Library.

Learning Communities Coordinator, Waheed Jayhoon, who took part in a guided version of the walk with Ngunawal Elder Wally Bell in O-Week, told Woroni that it ‘was highly interesting’. The group ‘examined stones and other artefacts’, before visiting ‘the oldest tree on campus, which is estimated to be up to 500 years old!’

The ANU Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Walk will join eight other walks that are already available on the app.

The walk has been developed by the ANU Heritage Department using funds acquired from the ACT Heritage Grants Program. The walk will become part of the existing Canberra Tracks network.

ANU Heritage Officer, Amy Jarvis, believes the walk will ‘help the ANU community engage with this important part of the region’s history and heritage.’ Jarvis also told Woroni she hopes participants will ‘see the campus landscape in a new light.’

The walk is in the final stages of review and approval. Jarvis confirms it will be available in time for the ACT and Region Heritage Festival in April.

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