“Lake Buloke is the most celebrated place in the Western District for the fine quality and abundance of its eels, and, when the Autumn rains induce these fish to leave the lake and to go down the river to the sea, the Aborigines gather there from great distances”.
James Dawson, Australian Aborigines, 1881
”For more than a decade I’d nursed the idea of walking with aboriginal people back into country they’d been removed from. As a small boy my grandfather had shown me axe heads and grindstones he’d picked up in the paddocks of his farm. He’d explained to me that they were stone tools that belonged to people who’d lived there before. I’d asked him where those people were. He said they’d all gone, but he thought they’d gone down Framlingham way. (Framlingham was an aboriginal reserve established in 1865 near Warrnambool) Even as a boy I sensed something important was missing. … ’
The Festival is held in the autumn in late March or early April, the timing reflecting the season when the eels traditionally begin their migration to the sea to spawn and when indigenous people from surrounding areas gathered around the lake and along the Salt Creek to harvest the eels, trade and hold ceremonies.
From 2005 to 2014 the festival was held annually and since 2016 bi-annually.
It is a relaxed and friendly festival offering plenty to engage all ages – truly multi-generational. We also offer some great events throughout the year which we hope to welcome you to.
We aim to:
Provide an inclusive, low cost event with artistic and cultural content that will enrich the life of this rural community;
Promote the Festival as a significant gathering place for people who care for the environment and respect Aboriginal cultural heritage;
Foster reconciliation and mutual respect and understanding between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples;
Promote the restoration of Lake Bolac and surrounding waterways to a state that is ecologically sustainable for the flora and fauna dependent on it; and
Promote ecologically sustainable rural practice.
HART Award for Eel Festival – Kuyang Lapakira
The Lake Bolac Eel Festival – Kuyang Lapakira has won Best Festival in the Community Engagement Category of the 2018 HART Awards.
The 5th annual HART Awards were presented by Reconciliation Victoria, in partnership with VLGA and supported by Bank Australia and Local Government Victoria. The Awards recognise Victorian initiatives that contribute to local reconciliation outcomes.
Winners received a beautiful handcrafted coolamon and each community organisation category winner was awarded a prize of $1000 to support their reconciliation initiatives.