On Wednesday, July 15, Senator Deborah O’Neill paid a visit to the Walkabout Wildlife Park at Calga to congratulate owner and general manager Ms Tassin Barnard for her work in building a unique Central Coast tourism hotspot whilst also preserving important indigenous cultural sites.’
Sen O’Neill commended the Park’s commitment to job training by providing hands-on internship opportunities to students of animal husbandry, ecotourism, and conservation management.
“Not only is it a popular tourist attraction, the park also provides vital training for young people from the Coast, around Australia, and even around the world,” Sen O’Neill said.
One of the major drawcards of the sanctuary is the indigenous cultural significance of this area, with a number of ceremonial sites and rare rock carvings readily accessible for visitors to view. The most famous rock carving is the renowned giant emu carving, signifying the site’s connection to Daramulum, a sky god of the weather for a number of local indigenous communities.
Ms Barnard, owner of the park for nearly a decade, says it is still exciting to be finding new sites of cultural importance to the traditional indigenous owners of the land. With “knowing our land” as their philosophy, the team at Walkabout Park work closely with the indigenous community to uncover and re-discover cultural sites.
“The rangers at Walkabout Park are still exploring the area, which is steeped in Aboriginal history. “There have already been a number of intriguing archaeological finds, and we are sure there are still many treasures to be found at Walkabout Park,” Ms Barnard said.
Sen O’Neill encouraged locals to visit the park to learn about the indigenous history of the Central Coast fi rsthand or even experience a night sleeping under the stars at the park’s private campsite.
15 July 2015
Richard Mehrtens, Office
of Deborah O’Neill