On July 14th 2018, Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, the Hon. Lily D'Ambrosio, and Gunai Traditional Owner Aunty Doris Paton formally announced the creation of the Brataualung Forest Park in the Strzelecki Ranges.
The name Brataualung refers to one of five clans of the Gunai tribe and was the nominated name for the Reserve by the GunaiKurnai Elders Council after a Government naming process.
The new Reserve covers 2,400 ha of land, including key cool temperate rainforest catchments in the Agnes River, Franklin River, Dingo Creek, Albert River and College Creek.
The new reserve is the result of more than 20 years campaigning in the region by many individuals and local groups, particularly Friends of Gippsland Bush, and Friends of the Earth.
At the launch, Aunty Paton thanked all those people who had helped protect her country.
Over the next 10 years another 5,500 ha of land will be added to the Reserve with the possibility of the creation of a new National Park in the region. The new reserve approximately doubles the amount of reserved land in the Strzeleckis, Victoria's most depleted bioregion.
Friends of the Earth plans to keep pressuring the State Government to deliver on the additional 5,500 ha and to recommence koala surveys in the region. The Strzeleckis contains the only endemic koala population in Victoria and South Australia.
Our past work in the region has helped to better understand preferred koala feed trees and develop an approximate population size. Almost all of our work in the region has been done in a voluntary capacity.
Any donation to help keep this work going would be greatly appreciated and will go a long way.
Long time Strzelecki campaigners: Anne Westwood, Anthony Amis, Susie Zent.
BELOW: View across College Creek catchment.