INFIELD IMPACT: Michael Dunn shows way into heritage maze

EXPLORING history has always been close to the heart of Michael Dunn, whose family ties date back to the pioneering Mitchell and Stedman families of Albury.

But his interest is not limited to settlers, with his job centred on uncovering the Aboriginal culture or heritage of sites.

Bungowannah-based Mr Dunn is director of Infield Impact, a company recently established to help people navigate through indigenous requirements for land projects ranging from walking trails to housing subdivisions.

“I’ve always been interested in Aboriginal cultural heritage,” Mr Dunn said.

“I enjoy history and I suppose the fact that people have been living here for thousands of years.

“You can walk anywhere pretty much along a river and find cultural material.

“You have to find a balance between development and preserving cultural heritage.

“I’ve come from an industry with gas pipelines, which is fairly full-on.

“Sometimes cultural heritage got swept aside and not managed properly and I think there’s a lot of opportunities there.”

Mr Dunn’s recent works have included assisting with Lincoln Causeway walking trails overseen by Parklands Albury-Wodonga, a housing subdivision at Beechworth and the expansion of the Murray Goulburn store at Corryong.

He said legislation federally and in NSW and Victoria, as well as council measures, all had a cultural heritage facet.

“There’s such a maze of different legislation that people have to go through,” he said.

“In Victoria it’s the Aboriginal Heritage Act of 2006 and federally it’s the Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act which encompasses world heritage sites.”

The former Scots School student, who has a degree in archaeology from La Trobe University, said in working on projects around Australia his most remarkable find had been Aboriginal rock art.

Children’s hands, potentially 6000 years old, were discovered on rock hidden by thick bush when Mr Dunn was preparing for the construction of a gas pipeline in the Surat Basin in Queensland.

On the Border, Mr Dunn has examined camp sites and artefacts such as stone scrapers and grinding stones.

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