Yorta Yorta history protected in bridge project

By Andrew Johnston

ABOUT 12ha of bush has been cleared from the Victoria Park precinct to make way for the new Echuca-Moama bridge.

But in their place will be some relics of local history, and of the land's first people.

Across the route of the new bridge, seven scarred trees were found to have high aesthetic, historic, scientific and social value to the Yorta Yorta people and to the wider community.

The project's Cultural Heritage Management Plan identified the trees before land clearing began, with all avoided during the land clearing process.

Major Road Projects Victoria's program director Eric Shegog said extra work had gone into protecting the cultural significance of the surrounding area for future generations.

“Scarred trees are a result of Aboriginal people carving a piece of timber from a tree, often grey box in this area, to make either a canoe, shield, coolamon-container, or for shelter,” he said.

“We’ve worked closely with the local community, particularly the Yorta Yorta people, to protect many significant trees.

“The exclusion zone is now visible. These measures will ensure that all scarred trees identified during early project investigations are protected throughout construction.”

The $323.7 million works continue with the main bridge, two additional flood relief bridges and a new walking and cycling path along the route to be built by the project's completion.