For dozens of generations, this serene stretch in the highlands of southeastern Australia has been a sanctuary for the women of the Djab Wurrung people, where babies were delivered in the hollows of majestic birthing trees and the placentas were planted nearby to imbue saplings with their spirit.

"This is it. This is our women's safe place. The creational place," said Zellanach Djab Mara, 33, a Djab Wurrung cultural "lore man."

Soon, though, bulldozers may arrive on this sacred ground, as the state government in Victoria moves ahead with a long-delayed plan to widen a highway. Dozens of protesters have

Advertisement
Advertisement