Board 2: Ancient River Valley and Aboriginal Camping Site
Ancient River Valley
This ancient river valley has been through many changes. Volcanoes erupted in the region west and north of Melbourne, over two million years ago. Lava poured out and formed the basalt plains. Near this park at Highpoint, where the rockface can be seen, the lava flow is about six metres deep.
The Maribyrnong River cut through the hard rock making steep cliffs. The course of the river changed. 20,000 years ago you could have walked from here along the river as far as Tasmania.
Aboriginal Camping Site
Aboriginal people have lived in the valley for over 40,000 tears. Their culture and technology changed over the ages. Tools and implements 5000 years ago were very different from those of earlier times.
Aborigines camping at Maribyrnong about 160 years ago were of the Woiworung tribe, part of the Kulin nation. They built fish traps, and hunted birds, kangaroos and possums. They called this river Mirring-naai-birr-nong – ‘I can hear a ring-tail possum’. Women gathered roots and yams – Murnong and used herbs for medicine.
Local Aboriginal words suggest the area’s previous landscape: Koort Boork Boork – ‘clump of she-oaks’, Doutta Galla – ‘treeless plain’. As you enjoy the park, think about how Aborigines feel about the land.