Bridge work stalls after discovery of Aboriginal remains

Construction crews unearthed Aboriginal remains near Colac’s Barongarook Creek Bridge this week, with an Indigenous cultural officer indicating there are likely to be more in the area.

An Indigenous cultural officer says there are likely more Aboriginal burials near Colac’s Barongarook Creek, where road workers uncovered Aboriginal remains this week.

Road crews halted bridgeworks on Saturday morning after uncovering human bones during excavation works for a drainage line at the Barongarook Creek Bridge.

Crews stopped work immediately and contacted police, with the Colac Criminal Investigation Unit investigating the site before the coroner identified the remains as Aboriginal Ancestral Remains.

Police say Aboriginal Affairs Victoria has collected the remains.

The incident is reminiscent of the discovery of Aboriginal remains near Barongarook Creek in Colac 20 years ago, when workers discovered bones in a trench about 50 metres from the creek while building Barongarook Gardens Aged Care Home in 1999.

Eastern Maar cultural officer and protected areas project co-ordinator Reg Abrahams said there were “probably lots of remains around Barongarook Creek”, with the creek one of many significant places around Lake Colac for the Gulidjan tribe.

He said the last remains that were found in Colac were about 400 years old, and it was important that authorities worked with Aboriginal communities to respect significant sites and treat Indigenous cultural and human remains with respect.

See today’s Colac Herald for more.

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