European Settlement

The first white man to really explore the Gariwerd/Grampian area was Major Mitchell in 1836. He named the ranges after an area in Scotland which he cosidered similar. He was followed by Edward Eyre and others and their favourable reports in the 1840's encouraged many settlers to the area. Within twenty years of European settlement, the Koori people were reduced to less than 10% of their original number. European diseases, dispossesion from their land, and massacres, were the dramatic changes which colonisation introduced. The lifestyle of those few who remained was altered from their traditional hunting/gathering techniques to that of farm labourers or residents in church missions, such as nearby Lake Condah.

The heritage of times past became lost as Kooris were taught European ways and punished for keeping their own traditions. Art sites, the Koori "libraries" fell to ruin and much of the oral history handed down from parents to children became lost to memory because many families were broken up. Recent years have seen a resurgence of Koori culture as Aborigines, government and other interested groups have sought to uncover the past heritage. "Brambuk" the Aboriginal Centre near the camp site, is an education centre for Kooris and other visitors. Here, much of the recovery of culture has taken place. Koori names have been reintroduced into Gariwerd, a proper recognition of their language and culture. Brambuk is an important centre for understanding Australian history and culture.

Courtesy of:
The Brambuk Aboriginal Cultural Centre

For more information on Aboriginal Heritage:

Aboriginal Heritage
Aboriginal Rock Art
Brambuk Aboriginal Cultural Centre
Koories in the Gariwerd Area
Yardwadjali and Djap Wurrung Story

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Isabella Dawson, daughter of Western district pioneer James Dawson, was one of the rare newcomers who made a point of learning and recording western Aboriginal peoples language and culture.
(Dunkfield Historical Museum)