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D.I.R.G. - Delatite Indigenous Reference Group

Delatite Indigenous Reference Group (DIRG) was established in 1999 as one of the outcomes of Project Wappan. It is a resource organisation which assists Mansfield Shire Council to understand and respond to Indigenous people within the spirit of reconciliation.

DIRG achievements include:

  • Establishing an Indigenous cultural landmark: Scarred Tree Precinct, at the entrance to the town.
  • Receiving a local history grant to create a film "Taungurung Land: Good Country, My Country":Mapping Mansfield's Indigenous Heritage" and fact sheets detailing Indigenous heritage, scarred trees and stone tools.
  • Acknowledgment of Indigenous custodianship of the land at Civic functions.
  • Ensuring the Aboriginal flag is flown with the Council flag at the Shire office.
  • Developing resources to promote awareness of our Indigenous inheritance.

DIRG projects include:

  • A Victorian Government Local History Grant to record the interaction between Indigenous people and white settlers in the Mansfield district.
  • A Victorian Government Rural Infrastructure grant to relocate and house a scarred tree. The Scarred Tree project incorporates a snake dreaming wall of ceramic tiles created by Indigenous and non-Indigenous local youth.

Mansfield Shire is in Taungurung country. DIRG acknowledges the unique role the Taungurung Clan have had in this region as custodians of the land for many thousands of years. DIRGs focus is policy and protocol which affects Indigenous people in the Mansfield Shire.

Local government policy and practise is crucial in establishing a just ethos, as described in the Australia Council for Reconciliation booklet: Weaving the Threads

Local governments are responsible for setting the local mood or spirit of the town, shire or city in terms of whether all citizens, regardless of race, find local communities welcoming and inclusive. The level of infrastructure, service delivery and commitment to social harmony in each local area closely affects the daily lives of Indigenous people.