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Sewer upgrade uncovers history

Yarra Valley Water has uncovered more than 2,700 Aboriginal stone artefacts in Donvale believed to be up to four thousand years old.

The find came about during construction works as part of an upgrade to allow more than a thousand Donvale properties to switch from septic tanks to a reticulated sewerage system.  

The sewerage project is largely located along the banks of Mullum Mullum Creek, an area considered to be of high cultural heritage significance.

Yarra Valley Water Managing Director Pat McCafferty said the measures taken on this project to preserve and protect Aboriginal cultural heritage represents a large undertaking.

“This is one of the most significant historical finds that we’ve come across on one of our projects,” said Mr McCafferty.

“It definitely helps to paint a picture of the history and cultural importance of the area.”

Most of the artefacts found included sharp stone tools used by people for many everyday tasks, including shaping objects made of wood, bark and bone or used as spear-tips in hunting weapons and as knives for cutting meat.

Yarra Valley Water will work with the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation in the coming weeks to rebury the artefacts and hold a smoking ceremony.

The new reticulated sewerage system will be constructed with as minimal disturbance as possible and, once complete, will improve the quality of local waterways and the environment by eliminating sewage effluent run-off.

Mr McCafferty said the project would benefit the local environment and customers, with the Donvale Community Sewerage Program forming part of an annual and ongoing program of approximately $25 million per year in Yarra Valley Water’s region.

For more information visit the Yarra Valley Water website.

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