Activists at the Djabwurrung Embassy have lodged a Heritage Protection Emergency Declaration for the sites but are also preparing for further action on Wednesday.
If granted, the Declaration could provide up to 60 days of protection for the sites.
Tuesday night the atmosphere at the Embassy was peaceful even as more people arrived to join the activists.
Original custodian Zallanach Gunaikurnai said that it was unclear if Victoria Police or Major Roads Victoria would be at any of the sites on Wednesday, but that the tree sits were in place with people "ready to climb up there" at a moments notice.
He said that he had put another call out for people to join the camps Tuesday evening and that they were prepared for the long haul.
"We're not going to be satisfied with minimal damage - we want no damage (to the birthing trees and other sacred places)," he said.
- Police arrived at one of the three campsites along the proposed Buangor to Ararat Western Highway duplication early Tuesday morning after Major Roads Victoria were expected to start work.
- In response activists set up tree sits and a frontline of people to bar entry to Major Roads Victoria machinery. At about midday machinery could be heard nearby.
- Elder Aunty Sandra Onus told police that traditional custodians had not given their consent for machinery to enter the land.
- At 2.20pm Victoria Police told Elder Aunty Sandra Onus that they will leave the site for the day.
- Major Roads Victoria issued a statement at 7pm that said 'safety is our number one priority as we get back to work on the Western Highway project.'
- The state government had previously declared that two of the birthing trees will be protected, but activists said that there were many more sacred sites that were being overlooked.
UPDATE 7pm: Major Road Projects Victoria has issued an updated statement.
"Safety is our number one priority as we get back to work on the Western Highway project," program director Tim Price said.
"We've been working with Victoria Police to facilitate safe access to the worksite to establish our site compound, however, based on the advice of police we were unable to safely access the worksite today.
"We'll continue to work with Victoria Police to establish our site and commence works as soon as it's safe to do so."
UPDATE 4.30pm: Northern Grampians Shire Council has weighed in on the issue.
"It's pleasing to see the works recommence after a lengthy delay," Northern Grampians Shire mayor Kevin Erwin said.
"We've seen the safety benefits and efficiencies from the already duplicated section of the Western Highway, and it's pleasing to see that the Buangor to Ararat section will be completed in the next couple of years."
UPDATE 3.15pm: Elder Aunty Sandra Onus has expressed her joy following today's "little win" but predicts it could be short lived.
"The police have withdrawn - they had orders from higher up to withdraw but they didn't say how long for," she said.
"We need people at the camps until we hear from our lawyers - we don't want anyone to go until then.
"I don't think they (police) will be back today."
Aunty Sandra said despite successfully holding off access of machinery on Tuesday there is still plenty of work to be done.
"Today was a bit of a win but we don't consider it really a win until we see something on paper - until then we are still in the dark as to what has taken place," she said.
"We aren't silly enough to believe this will be it forever - it could change tomorrow for all we know."
UPDATE 2.20pm: Police have informed Elder Aunty Sandra Onus and other activists they will stand down for the day.
Activists cheered as police left the scene.
It comes as more people continue to arrive at the scene of the campsite at Buangor.
People are parking near the Western Highway and walking into the campsite to show their support for the campaign.
UPDATE 1.25pm: Major Road Projects Victoria has issued a short statement this afternoon.
"Now that we've made localised design changes to the Western Highway to retain two trees identified as significant by the Aboriginal community, site set up work is due to recommence today," program director Tim Price
"We are working with Victoria Police to facilitate safe access to the work site."
UPDATE 12.45pm: Activists have declared they are prepared to be "locked up" and are standing in a blockade.
UPDATE 12.30pm: A spokesperson for Elder, Aunty Sandra Onus says activists have not given their consent for machinery to enter the property.
Machinery can be heard approaching the area.
UPDATE 12.20pm: Activist Meriki Onus has approached police at the blockade and informed them that activists would not consent to machinery entering the property where the duplication works are planned to start.
The activists have split into two groups - some moving to a gate where the machinery is due to arrive.
Police have told the activists that no trees will be felled today but they still plan to move machinery on to the land soon.
UPDATE 11.30am: Original custodian Zallanach Gunaikurnai tells the Ararat Advertiser that activists learned yesterday that police would attend the camp today.
He said, on a video, that he was representing local Indigenous women and children and "all the spirits and all the animals, insects ... everything that we own that comes from the land".
"We got information yesterday that police were coming in to remove some of us from the camp and coming to desecrate country on this middle part of the landscape," he says on video, gesturing to trees behind him.
"We have been able to put a call-out overnight for supporters and lodged appeal for (an emergency protection order) in the Federal Court last night."
Mr Gunaikurnai said the activists had also launched an appeal against the minister's decision in February to alter the highway route.
He said that appeal was due before the Federal Court on March 25.
"We know there are flaws within what she's talking about and the decision that has been made," he said.
Mr Gunaikurnai said the turnout of supporters was bittersweet.
"This is not the end of it," he said.
"A mob are still coming, supporters are still descending on the land and getting here to the landscape ... I am very, very pleased but at the same time, very saddened that we have to come and do this to save what is our religious and our cultural beliefs that we are akin with."
UPDATE 11.15am: An activist protesting from a tree along the Western Highway duplication route has recorded a video message at the request of the Ararat Advertiser.
The woman, who identifies herself as Sybil, is sitting in "an extremely sacred tree" off the current highway near Ararat.
"The government wants to build a new highway and eradicate some very ancient, sacred trees to Indigenous people of this area," she says.
"I'm currently occupying a tree sit to stand in solidarity with Indigenous people and ask the government to display their respect for this sacred land and to not continue the genocide of this country."
UPDATE 11am: About 100 activists are at the campsite with police still blockading Hillside Road at Buangor.
Two activists have set up camp among the trees, with one in a birthing tree.
Activists are attempting to find alternative ways to access the duplication route from the campsite.
It is quiet and peaceful at the moment, with people engaged in conversation and standing around.
Major Roads Victoria has been contacted again for comment.
A spokesperson said the organisation was preparing a response for the media.
UPDATE 10.35am: Two people are camped in a birthing tree near the police blockade at Buangor.
UPDATE 10.20am: Djabwurrung Aboriginal activists have vowed to continue their fight to halt the Western Highway duplication project at Buangor.
Djabwurrung elder, Aunty Sandra Onus, said the group had issued a request, via a Melbourne-based lawyer, under cultural heritage legislation to continue negotiations with planning authorities.
"That would give us 60 days to continue to come to some sort of understanding with all parties," she told the Ararat Advertiser.
"(We've also issued a request under) section 18, which gives us 48 hours, or at the minister's discretion, to discuss with Major Roads (Victoria) what our complaints are - which they already know what they are.
"Police have a job to do, we know that. They aren't here to argue with us and not should they.
"We have to go to lengths to protect our cultural heritage."
EARLIER: Police will increase their presence at the site of a controversial roads project this week.
Works are due to resume at the site of the Western Highway duplication at Buangor today.
It comes after several lengthy delays to the project - the latest as activists set up camp at the site in June 2018 due to Aboriginal heritage concerns.
A Victoria Police spokeswoman confirmed with the Ararat Advertiser this morning that units from the Highway Patrol Operations Response Unit, Dog Squad and Mounted Branch would join general duties officers "to ensure the safety of all people in the area".
"We are aware of the possibility of protest action at the site; police will be present to ensure no breaches of the peace, antisocial behaviour or crime occurs," the spokeswoman said.
"Victoria Police respects people's right to protest peacefully, but will not tolerate those who break the law and simply won't tolerate any anti-social behaviour or violence."
Works were suspended in August at the request of the Federal Department of Environment and Energy in order to undertake an assessment of the area's cultural heritage.
The federal government in January rejected an application from an Indigenous group requesting works on the duplication cease.
The Victorian government announced plans to alter the duplication route in February but activists said at the time that the route would still impact a number of culturally significant trees.
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The spokeswoman said police would not comment further on the matter.
Major Roads Victoria has been contacted for comment.