THE indigenous significance of Cataract Gorge has been explored by Tamar Natural Resource Management, NRM North and the Launceston community.
A guided tour – led by Aboriginal elder Patsy Cameron – gave residents access to the natural wonder’s cultural secrets yesterday.
Mrs Cameron took the opportunity to explain the region’s rich Aboriginal significance and shared insight into indigenous way of life in Tasmania over the past 10,000 years.
The 90-minute tour stretched from Duck Reach to First Basin.
Attendees were educated on bush tucker, uses for local plants and vegetation, native wildlife, Aboriginal gender roles and spiritual connection with the land.
‘‘We’re honouring this country,’’ Mrs Cameron said.
‘‘This is a cultural lesson to look at the country’s heritage.
‘‘You will understand the connection between the gorge and the indigenous people.’’
Mrs Cameron was hailed by the NRM groups for making the time to conduct the tour.
The Tomahawk elder said the Gorge dated back 200 million years and everything within it had purpose to the land’s indigenous owners.
‘‘Way back in the beginning, ancestral beings came down from the stars to Tasmania,’’ she said.
‘‘They cut the Mangana lieta (South Esk River).’’
Mrs Cameron said the Gorge was divided by gender.
‘‘There is woman business and man business. Rocks were a man’s business because the rocks represented the strong male caretakers of the river.’’
The use of indigenous names for places and landmarks is highly important, said Mrs Cameron, who has questioned why names like Mangana lieta are not used more frequently in the community.
‘‘Aboriginal groups have said they don’t want others using their language, but it’s time we all learnt to share.’’
NRM North and Tamar NRM will now turn their focus to World Wetlands Day on Monday.