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Brambuk Location Map
Brambuk Calendar
Brambuk calendar from the Halls Gap Region showing six seasons
January February March April May June July August September October November December
Late Summer Autumn Winter Pre-Spring Spring Early Summer

The Brambuk Homelands

The Brambuk Seasons

There are six distinct weather periods recognised in the Brambuk seasonal cycle. These are genuine seasons which relate to climatic features as well as referencing environmental events such as plant flowering, fruiting and animal behaviour patterns.


Gariwerd / Grampians National Park is a unique place.

The language groups, Djapwurrong and Jardwadjali are the languages used by the custodians for the
Grampians/Gariwerd region. 

Reading the Country

Gariwerd / Grampians National Park is a unique place.
There are many different ways of understanding this ancient landscape.

Understanding the land through seasonal observations was once essential to survival and is today, essential to management.

The Grampians National Park is home to many rare and endangered species of plants and animals, and is recognised as the single most important botanical reserve in Victoria.

Water, one of the most precious and scarce resources in Australia, is abundant in the Grampians / Gariwerd area.

Protecting and conserving habitat is the main way to help preserve plants and animals, including endangered species.

A Spirit of Connection

There are many different ways of understanding this ancient landscape.
Aboriginal society, economy and lifestyle have a long association with Gariwerd.

Every place, plant and animal in Gariwerd already had an Aboriginal name and clan connection when European explorers and squatters came to the region for the “untouched” grazing land.

A band’s pattern of movement was determined by the availability of seasonal resources and the ritual obligations imposed on each and every clan member to regularly visit totemic clan sites.

Oral history informs rules and regulations, songs, dances and stories.

Gariwerd contains a priceless record of a rich Aboriginal culture that encompassed a wide range of artistic expression.

Deep Time

Gariwerd / Grampians National Park is a unique place.
There are many different ways of understanding this ancient landscape.

The diversity of plant and animal life is a result of variations in topography, soils and climate.

The Aboriginal people believed that, in the beginning, it was the fabulous, superhuman creatures of the Dreamtime who brought the barren land to life.

Geologically, the Grampians began over 550 million years ago as a deep trough.

550 million years ago
There was over 6km of sediment laid down in 4 strata through a deep trough.

150 million years ago
Earth movement tilted strata sideways.
Fractures appeared through sandstone layers.

100 million years ago
There was mock uplift and erosion along fracture lines.
Valleys were formed as well as “cuesta” shaped landforms.
Rock shelters eroded into soft sandstone.
Three majors rivers have their source in Gariwerd.
Many Gariwerd places were named after actions and body parts of ancestral heroes. These are signposts to cultural heritage.

40 to 50 million years ago
There was an inland sea.
Mt Arapiles was an island.
Raised basalt lava created swamps.

4 to 5 million years ago
There was extensive volcanic action.
Laval plains.
Aboriginal peoples creation myths has everything put in place by ancestral superheroes. Stories were passed down along with responsibility to visit and look after the country.
There were spiritual obligations such as “increase” rituals.

During an age 26000 years ago
There was a treeless landscape on the edge of a large, arid zone.
Large, fast and dangerous rivers.
Megafauna roamed. 

Changes Wrought by Human Hand

Aboriginal society, economy and lifestyle have a long association with Gariwerd.
Great changes to Gariwerd / Grampians occurred in the last 200 years.

Both the Aboriginal people and Europeans have used the Grampians resources in many different ways, e.g. firestick farming, water harvesting, timber harvesting, gold mining, copper mining, and grazing.

The contact period was largely the waging of an undeclared war with the victors taking all and the defeated being expelled to reserves at Framlingham, Lake Condah and Ebenezer.

Conservation replaced exploitation when the Grampians National Park was created in 1984. Today, it is managed by Parks Victoria.

Recreation and tourism continue to affect the environment. Management aims to ensure that people take some personal responsibility for minimising their impact and looking after the environment.

Mosaic burning

For underground larder (orchids, lilies, yam daisies and grass).
Avoided large - scale wildfire.
Firesticks were made from grasstree spikes.
Major Mitchell referred to the marks of fire throughout the area.
Early settlers caused frequent, widespread and high – intensity fires.
Many areas changed from open parkland and large trees to thick scrub and young trees.

Rock shelters were located high up and with good views over plains. They were also near water supply.

Emu and kangaroo were common motifs in rock art. They were often symbolic.

Gulgurn munja was a possible school for children.

Major Mitchell had to abandon his boat when it became bogged.

Construction of Lake Wartook  occurred in 1887.

Clans had specific territories. These were estates defined by ecological boundaries, e.g. mountain peaks and water resources.

There was cultivation of Murnong. This included burnt grass, dug up tubers and turned over soil. Some were left for the following year.

Introduced sheep would eat all of the tubers in one year and thus deprive Aboriginal people of food. Many settlers considered Aboriginal people as pests.

Trade introduced non – indigenous plants.

Ochres were mined, traded and used for ceremonies.

European trade and gold rush

Mines developed, e.g. Heatherlie led to the displacement of Aboriginal people.
They were forced to move into missions and were not allowed to practice their culture or language.

Huts, canoes, shields, bowls and water containers were made from bark using greenstone axes.

Every part of a plant was used as a material resource, e.g. Cumbungi.

European timber harvesting was used for railway sleepers.

Under the Forest commission, all productive species were harvested.

A Tourist Zone was established in the Wonderland area near Halls Gap.

Hunting pressure on possums and kangaroos meant that they were more rare than they are today.

There was the demise of Megafauna possibly due to hunting and the effects of the Ice Age.

European settlers reduced native animals populations which were forced to compete with sheep for food.

Deprived Aboriginal people of food. 

Co – Management and Cultural Fusion

There are many different ways of understanding this ancient landscape.
Understanding the land is essential for management.
Aboriginal people are striving for recognition, respect and reconciliation.

Aboriginal people from five local communities play an important role in park management, participating in site management, restoration, protection, active interpretation, education, as well as on – ground works.

The conservation of Aboriginal cultural sites and artefacts are done under the guidance of a range of national and international guidelines.

Brambuk is important for cultural exchange and revival, through opportunities to teach and to learn. Brambuk provides employment and the interpretation of a living culture.

Aboriginal people continue to make great contributions in a spirit of strength and hope for the future, e.g. in politics, sport, conservation and local community.

Mosaic burning by indigenous people with Parks Victoria.

Non - indigenous people are learning traditional practices.

74 percent of the Grampians National Park is a Special Water Catchment area.

Ecological water flow management.

There is management and interpretation of rock art sites. Cultural and sporting events are supported including AFL football links.

Aboriginal involvement in park management. Flora and fauna protection / management.

The Brambuk Homelands | Bureau of Meteorology Temperature and Rainfall Graphs for this region

Permission to use the Brambuk seasonal calendar is granted by the Elders/Directors of Brambuk, which includes the Gunditjmara, Winda Mara (Kerrup Jamara), Goolum Goolum, Kirrae Whurrong and Framlingham peoples. A link to the Brambuk website is included, www.brambuk.com.au.