BUNYIP STATE PARK
ArchLink Archaeologists and Heritage Advisors acknowledges the
Aboriginal Traditional Owners of Victoria - including its parks and reserves.
Through their cultural traditions, Aboriginal people maintain their connection
to their ancestral lands and waters.
The Bunyip State Park is a 166-square-kilometre state park 65 kilometres east of Melbourne, near the town of Gembrook, in the southern slopes of the Great Dividing Range in Victoria.
The Balluk-William clan of the Woiworung (Yarra Yarra) tribe were the first people to live in the area. According to the Aboriginal people, the Bunyip or “Buneep” (as spelt on early maps which show the river, first cattle run and township) is a spirit that punishes bad people. Local Aboriginal people believed the Bunyip lived in the swamps of the Bunyip River, and therefore avoided the area. Many early settlers, believing this story, never pitched their tents near a ‘Bunyip hole’. People were also careful not to make ripples when collecting water so as not to upset the Bunyip.
The miners and prospectors of the mid 1850s were the first Europeans to visit the district, but they soon moved on to more promising goldfields. The area has a long history of timber cutting. The area was used for logging from 1898 until 1990, and was turned into a state park two years later.
In March 2019, a large area of the Bunyip State Park was burnt by wildfire.
Parks Victoria commissioned ArchLink Archaeologists and Heritage Advisors to assist them with an archaeological survey of the areas most affected by the wildfires and to record any Aboriginal artefacts that may now be visible due to reduced vegetation.
The survey and recording took place from 17th - 24th June, 2019 and also included several park rangers from Parks Victoria, Melbourne Water, Aboriginal Victoria and members of the Wurundjeri Tribe Council, Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation, and Boon Wurrung Foundation. Several areas of the park were surveyed including Luptons Track, Diamond Creek, Ash Landing, Helmet Track, Avards Track, Luptons Ridge and the Four Brothers Rocks lookout. Over 250 stone artefacts were recorded resulting in the recognition of several new Indigenous sites in the park.