“It’s not Aboriginal heritage, it’s Australia’s Heritage” – a yarn with Ashley.

May 7, 2024

Ashley Wilkinson is a proud Taungurung man of the Yeerum-Illiam-Balluk clan, which is below the Benalla and Mansfield area. Ash works as a Field Service Officer conducting cultural surveys and is also a wawa biik guide. We yarn with Ash to learn more about his perspectives regarding cultural heritage. It’s well worth pulling him aside for a yarn on our wawa biik tours too as he’s got some great insights to share.

Do you have a favourite part of Taungurung Country?

I honestly have a very strong feeling on every part of my Country that I have the privilege to be on.

What’s an average day for you out in the field doing cultural heritage?

An average day can vary from digging on sites with archaeologists to finding cultural heritage to giving an induction to groups on how to identify artefacts and heritage.

What sort of training does it take to work in cultural heritage?

It is very different from any normal job. It takes patience and commitment, a lot of face-to-face training from us or an Elder in the community and then just training as much as we can into the future.

What does it mean for you when you find artefacts on Country?

It means a lot, but for me it’s just another piece to this huge puzzle that not only Taungurung mob but every mob is trying to place together. It gives us stories not only on what the landscape would have looked like but also what our Ancestors would have been doing inside that landscape.

Is there anything you’d like people to know about cultural heritage?

I always say it’s very interesting because it’s not Aboriginal heritage it’s Australian heritage, so if you call yourselves Australian why wouldn’t it be interesting?

Why have you made the choice to be a wawa biik guide?

Because I’ve always looked up to my Elders and the Taungurung people that have come before me and fought so hard to be where we are today. It drives me to be able to teach Taungurung values and way of life to more people.

Come and join us for a half day experience in June! We would love to welcome you to Country. 

Book via our website.
May newsletter now out! Head to our bio. 

In this edition, we unpack the how and why of cultural heritage protection. We yarn with Taungurung Elders and youth who have experienced the pride of being out in the field unearthing cultural artefacts but who are equally as passionate about walking Country with the wider community to educate about cultural values and the Taungurung story. We hope that their insights spark some reflection and consideration of the role we all must play in ‘winganggath daatba’.
As a Taungurung Elder who has worked for his mob for two decades doing cultural surveys, Uncle Shane could probably write a book about what he’s seen and experienced out there in the field. Take a look as we yarn with Uncle Shane on all things Cultural Heritage and how you might be able to help. Link in bio

#cultureheritage #country #australianheritage #indigenous #artifacts #victorianhighcountry #taungurungcountry
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