Iuk (Eel) Trap

Next date: Wednesday, 25 May 2022 | 07:00 AM to Tuesday, 31 May 2022 | 11:59 PM

Iuk trap

Connect to local Wurundjeri culture through the practice of eel harvesting when you visit Coronation Park in April and May. Wurundjeri Elder, Aunty Kim Wandin invites you to find her suspended Iuk (eel) Trap near Watt's River and to check in at the onsite QR Code to find out more about eels and their relationship to local Wurundjeri culture.

From 13th April and throughout May (to coincide with Efemera)


You are standing on the unceded lands of the Wurundjeri people. Please be respectful of Country and waterways

Short finned eels are fish that live in our creeks rivers lakes and dams

They live here on Wurundjeri Country in the Birrarung where the water flows from the headwaters down all the way to the sea

When the wurun(manna gum) is flowering the mature eels of 25-35 years start their migration under the cover of darkness on the new moon in march (iuk season)

It is in this time when the eels are at their fullest from feeding on insects fish frogs and yabbies

When the land was free and able to fully flood there were lots of billabongs for the eel.

They make their way down the waterways being capable of crossing over land to get further downstream and into the brackish water where the fresh water mingles with salt water

From here they migrate often thousands of kilometers to somewhere in the Coral Sea to spawn where the adults eels then die.

The newly hatched larvae make their journey back on the East Australian current to the brackish water where they turn into glass eels and amazingly make their way back upstream to mature and begin the cycle again.

The Birrarung(Yarra River) is a life giving force that has been cared for by the Wurundjeri people for 1000s of years

Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung people would use specially designed woven fibre traps to catch eels made from lomandra and reeds found on the riverbank and in the water.

Cumbungi roots growing in the river are a great source of food too.

The eels would be prepared by smoking them in a hollow tree and are a part of a perfectly balanced diet.

Making sure they only took what was needed and always honouring and giving back to Country by way of Lore.

Kim Wandin is a Wurundjeri Woirurrung woman living in Healesville in the Yarra Valley.  Her traditional name is Wandoon’ which means ‘spirits of the water’.  Kim is a basket and eel trap maker collecting reeds and other fibre plants on Country. She hangs them to dry in the sun and when they are dried she soaks them in water to make the flexible and ready to use. 

The art of using reeds to make eel traps and baskets is a traditon handed down to Kim by her Nana Ollie who was taught by Granny Jemima at Coranderrk.

Eel traps are a wonderful example of simple effective sustainable technology that served First Nations people for thousands of years.  This eel trap captures the essence of a sustainable lifestyle as practiced by my ancestors and the reminder that they are always present guiding me.


  • Wednesday, 13 April 2022 | 12:00 AM - Tuesday, 31 May 2022 | 11:59 PM


Brungergalk (watts river) park (Coronation Park) Healesville, 105 River Street, Healesville 3777  View Map

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