An Interesting History Project

‘The towneys watched back’ is a project by artist Fernando do Campo, who has been researching the histories of house sparrow introductions across the USA, Argentina and Australia. Through archival research, colonial language, and site-specific artistic interventions across Ararat, Fernando do Campo explores this local narrative and the house sparrow as a potent symbol of colonisation.

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the ceremonial release of house sparrows from a balcony at the former Bull and Mouth Hotel, Barkly Street, Ararat.  As the Advertiser explained in 1867: ‘On Tuesday morning last a cage of English sparrows arrived in Ararat by coach…’ The local community of Ararat rejoiced their release … for hours afterwards wherever one or two could be seen knots of persons gathered to watch their movements…’

A Piece Of History

In April 2007 the book covering the devastating fires of January 2006, and also the way the vegetation responded , was launched at Willaura. FOGG were the instigators of the project, then many others came on board to support it. As well as the book, there were art and music workshops and performances in different places around the Grampians, culminating a festival day in Halls Gap.

To me, one of the highlights was the set of songs which emerged from the workshops with Fay White. Too long to put here, but here are  excerpts from two of them. (I will ask Frank to put the complete ones up on our website.)

 

FIRE SONG

The fire came through with roar and noise, awesome power and might.
Somehow we found the strength to stay, that long and anxious night.
At dawn the sound of cracking rocks, the fall of dying trees.
We looked and saw the forest, and the farms brought to their knees.
Twisted iron, charred remains, scorched and blackened ground,
Fenceless paddocks, stricken stock, some dead in swollen mounds.
Proud cliffs with trees like charcoal sticks, naked rocks laid bare,
And wisps of smoke from smouldering stumps, drifting in the air.

Fallen to ashes. fallen to ashes, All that beauty gone, fallen to ashes.

So summer passed and autumn came with days of mist and frost
And welcome rain began to fall, we grieved for what was lost
And the land began to lift its head to meet the falling rain
And we began to find the strength and will to start again

Out of the ashes . . . something coming through, out of the ashes

It’s hard painstaking dirty work, tedious and slow
Sometimes you think its gone for good, perhaps you too should go
But the grass-tree’s sprouting cheerful spikes as if to disagree
And Lo! A new defiant dress on every fire-scorched tree

Out of the ashes . . . something coming through, out of the ashes

 

GARIWERD ANTHEM

These mountains stand shoulder to shoulder
Massive uplift held  in stone
Lift your heart and look and listen.
Here is a wonderland.

Sing – the mornings, crisp and fair,
early bird-songs slice the air
Round the cliffs the echoes ring,
every wild thing wakes and sings
Sunrise turns rocks to rose,
every eastern rock-face glows.

Live, alive, a heartbeat heard – alive in Grampians Gariwerd

Sing – the days of scented peace,
perfume nectar sweet release
Wildflower courting insect wing,
snowy thryptomene has its fling
Cascades laughing tumble down,
flowing water for lowland towns

Live, alive, a heartbeat heard –alive in Grampians Gariwerd

Flick and flutter in the twilight haze,
gentle wallabies come to graze
Feeding, foraging, feathers and fur,
in leaf litter the lizards stir
Flocks of cockatoos rise and fall,
wok-a-wok wattle-birds cackle and call

Insect, animal, reptile, bird – alive in Grampians Gariwerd

Sing the horizon blue on blue,
rugged skyline breathless view
Noble slope, the sweeping range
O how swift the mood can change
Twist and crack in gale force winds,
forest buckles as the storm drives in

Wild and wilful heartbeat stirred – pulse of the Grampians  Gariwerd

History Corner

FOGG member Win Pietsch has sent us some extracts from the minutes of the Stawell Field Naturalist Club, of which she, Thelma and Ian were core members.

 July ’57: Over 300 koalas liberated in Halls Gap area

Feb ’58: Aboriginal caves discovered in the Billywing, Glenisla. A visit to them in March.

July ’60: Ian McCann discovered snow daisies Brachyscame nivalis, growing at the southern end of Major Mitchell Plateau, confirmed as the most westerly occurrence of this plant in Australia.

Aug ’63: Mr Wakefield camped in the Grampians and came to check the contents of an owl pellet deposit found in the Victoria range. He sieved through the contents and found bone fragments of up to 400 animals, including 21 native species.

Feb’ 77: A greater long eared bat found for the first time in the Asses Ears area. Bat trapping in the Victoria Valley captured 5 species but no bat caves found in the Grampians as yet.

Feb’78: Mr Tucker reported seeing Satin Flycatchers in the Grampians.

May ’81: Pomonal nursery’s “nuisance” proved to be a rare Broad-Toothed Rat. First report for the area.

Apr ’82: A short nosed bandicoot seen near Clematis falls.

June ’92: A Pidula species of Birds nest fungus at Pines camping ground area confirmed to be Pidua nivea tomentara.

Nov ’92: The beehive at Beehive Falls known to have been active for at least 80 years – Ian McCann.

May ’93: Strombilamyes fungus, related to the American “Old man of the Woods” found on the west of Bolte Hwy between halls Gap and Pines Camping Ground.

April ’95: A Peripatus found in litter near Dairy Creek.

June ’95: A fungus Grifola species, is found in Halls Gap.

July ’76: A rock wallaby reported in the Red Rock area of Victoria Range.

Feb ’96: Ian McCann reported that a fungus he had found on a banksia cone on Mt William had been officially named Banksiamyces maccanii. B. maccannii, first described in 1984, was found on dead Banksia saxicola cones. The specific epithet was chosen to honour Ian McCann, for his “discovery of the type collection and … his years of ecological, educational and conservation work in the Victorian Grampians.” (The fungus is distinguished from the other Banksiamyces species by its larger asci, larger spores, and tapering paraphyses tips. Further, the type collection was found fruiting in December and January, compared to winter and autumn for other Banksiamyces.)

June “94: Fungus, Cordyceps hawksii found near Forest Lodge in victoria valley.

Sep ’90: Grampians Sheoke (Allocasuarina grampiana) found on Boronia Peak.

Nature In The Serra Range

By J. W. AUDAS, F.L.S., F.R.M.S., Assistant, National Herbarium, Melbourne.
(Read before the Field Naturalist’s Club of Victoria, 15th Jan., 1919.)

[In our March edition we left the botanising group on the top of Mt Rosea on the first day of their two day trip in early November.]

As the country began to dip towards the Victoria Valley a fine patch of Melaleuca squamea in full bloom was met with, and in the gullies below Bauera sessiliflora was a magnificent sight. Grevillea rosmarinifolia, with its pretty rose-coloured blooms, and Trymalium Daltonii were also growing in the gullies ; the latter is a very early blooming shrub, and is at its best in July. The four Brachylomas native to Victoria were also found growing in this locality ; they were B. ericoides, B. daphnoides, B. ciliatum, and B. depressum. Following the creek which flows towards the Victoria Valley, we passed large patches of Pultenea Benthami, also P. rosea, both of which are peculiar to the Grampians. Some of the latter shrubs were especially fine here, growing to the height of fully eight feet, which is most unusual, as this plant is usually low-growing. Still keeping to the creek, we passed a peculiar rock known as ” The Monument,” adjacent to which were some fine patches of Lhotzkya genetylloides, Sprengelia incarnata, Thryptomene Mitchelliana, Melaleuca decussata, Calytrix Sullivani, Correa speciosa, and Epacris impressa ; the latter was a magnificent sight, in colours light and dark pink, and I was surprised to find it in profuse bloom at so late a period of the season. Leaving ” The Monument ” in the rear, the creek increased in size and volume of water, owing to the many tributaries joining it. On the banks was seen Epacris paludosa, with its beautiful

heads of wax-like flowers, while further down a large patch, some acres in extent, of Calectasia cyanea, or what is locally known as “Satin-flower,” presented an unusually pretty scene. Its blue flowers are delightfully glossy, and make beautiful bouquets, which last for months. Another attractive feature here was the abundance and variety of Helichrysums, the well-known everlasting daisies ; the three best noted were H. baxteri, H. bracteatum, and H. Blandowskianum, the latter being one of the most attractive everlastings. Its clusters of flower-heads are borne on stalks of almost equal whiteness, which make it valued for wedding bouquets and wreaths. Near at hand a fine waterfall was met with, fully a hundred feet in height. Mr. D’Alton was of opinion that this waterfall was not previously known, so we bestowed on it the name of Calectasia Fall, in honour of the beautiful plant growing near by. Further afield some very large patches of Boronia pilosa in full bloom was passed through, and the strong perfume emitted from this plant, especially when trodden upon, was very noticeable. For the next few miles we passed through very rough, rugged country, which made travelling extremely arduous, and on the way we noticed that the creek we had been following, and which we named Rosea Creek, on account of the large quantities of the beautiful Pultenea rosea growing near its source, had been much flooded at some previous time, as in some places the soil had been scoured out completely, while large heaps of debris were accumulated along its course. As dusk was drawing near, we decided to camp for the night, and a sheltered spot was chosen. Soon a large fire was blazing, and the billy boiled, and we were very tired and much in need of our evening meal. After partaking of same we proceeded to make things comfortable for the night by strewing ferns and eucalypt branches on the ground, over which we spread our blankets. It was necessary to keep a large fire going all the time, as the night was extremely cold.

 [Next issue will continue the report, with their second full day among the wildflowers. As noted last time the spelling of some plant names is erratic, due to the difficulty the OCR programme had with Latin words. And some names of course have changed in the last 90 years.]

CELEBRATING 100 YEARS OF ZUMSTEINS – 22 SEPTEMBER 2013

 

The 100 Year celebration of Zumsteins will be held on Sunday 22 September 2013 at Zumsteins Picnic Ground in the Grampians National Park. The day will be also a celebration for the restoration works that has happened since the 2011 flood and storm event.

A small group have come together from the local community, the Horsham Historical Society, Wartook Tourism Association and Parks Victoria to plan for this special day. They would like to invite anybody who has enjoyed or has a strong association to the area, to come and celebrate this much-loved place created over one hundred years ago by Walter Zumstein. The celebrations begin at 10.30am with a number of speakers and displays bringing to life the many memories of the area, and of Walter Zumstein and his family. There will also be many activities such as a community bike ride from Rosebrook, a community picnic and children’s games. Restoration works from the 2011 storm and flood event at Zumsteins will be completed for this event. Visitors will see plenty of evidence of the site’s recovery both in the picnic area and in the surrounding environment.

 

Zumsteins memories, stories or photos can be emailed to  Rod Jenkinson  or call into the Historical Society rooms at 33 Pynsent Street on Tuesdays or Wednesdays between 1.30 and 4.30pm or phone Ron on 53822573 evenings.

 

 

The missing fauna of the Grampians – Quolls By Mike Stevens with Eric Barber

 

Official wildlife database records are poor when attempting to understand the historic habitat ranges of many wildlife species. This creates difficulties when investigating the potential for large-scale fauna restoration opportunities across landscapes such as the Grampians. Common questions arise; What species used to occur in the landscape? How abundant were they? What was there habitat preference? Why did they go extinct?

My search started when comparing the data of previous small mammal captures by Seebeck1 in the 1970’s, or Cockburn2 in the 1980’s with recent small mammal trapping in the Grampians3. It is clear that species such as Long Nosed Potoroo, Southern Brown Bandicoot and Smokey Mouse have declined. This is in addition to the species already locally extinct such as White Footed Rabbit Rat, Southern Bettong, Western Barred Bandicoot and New Holland Mouse found by Wakefield4 in the 1960’s in Grampians cave deposits and the loss of poorly documented species such as Quoll5,6 and Dingo7.

However, nothing will replace local knowledge that can only be achieved through time spent working, living, exploring, studying and listening to a landscape. In Eric Barber, the Grampians has a custodian of local knowledge only earned through a long family connection with stories passed from his father, uncle and grandfather combined with a library of references only collected through a passionate career in natural history.

Eric’s oral history and advice has pointed me in the right direction to help paint the picture on Quoll in the Grampians landscape.

Eric accounts that many species that are rare or extinct today were common back in the 1800’s and 1900’s and were not noteworthy to write or document about being considered abundant and vermin. This makes establishing historic habitat ranges difficult when catastrophic disease possibly contributed to exterminating quolls on the mainland between 1901-19038,9. To this point, the presence of both species of Quoll in the Grampians (Eastern and Tiger) has provided many years of conjecture to agree if the species were actually present or not as official documentation is poor.

Eric explains that Quoll were once widespread. Supporting this valuable local oral history is research about to be published by David Peacock and Ian Abbot that has unearthed over 40,000 quoll records hidden in grey literature and family diaries from across Australia. This work includes local Grampians accounts such as; 1872 Mr Macpherson of Vermont noted that his father killed a large Tiger Quoll at the head of the Glenelg River (in the now Grampians National Park); 1875 – a Tiger Quoll was killed at Billgana in the Ararat district in the act of ‘devouring a good sized chicken’; 1882 – The Ararat Advertiser account for Eastern Quolls being trapped and killed during the lambing season in the Mount William district; 1885 – Eastern Quolls were also ‘very abundant’ in western Victoria with an author touring the region frequently seeing their ‘white-spotted carcasses lying about stations where they had been killed in traps’; 1898 – a toddler was scratched on the leg by an Eastern Quoll whilst in the Grampians (all accounts from Peacock and Abbot, unpublished data).

The evidence is now clear for the Grampians and surrounding area. A Tiger Quoll skull was recently found in a cave in the Victoria Range in March 2012. Eric provided me with the memoirs of Mrs M. Bodey5 from circa 1900 who writes from Walmer along the Wimmera River of native cats in their hundreds, unearthing and eating corpses in graves and attacking people in beds!

Over the past few hundred years land clearing has isolated the Grampians, fire regimes have been altered and the introduction of fox and cat combined with sport hunting of species such as Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby10,11 have changed the presence of native mammals we now have. However, imagine if we could play a role in large-scale restoration of our unique wildlife similar to ambitious attempts and plans in the UK or the USA?

I continue to research the missing wildlife the Grampians and am particularly interested in Dingo. Any information, family diaries or oral history accounts of Dingo (or Quoll) would be gratefully received. Please contact if you would like to provide any information.

Acknowledgement

Thank you to Eric and Evie Barber for kindly passing on information, obscure references and pointing me in the right direction. Thank you to David Peacock and Ian Abbot for use of Grampians quoll records prior to formal publication of their quoll database.

Citations:

 1 Seebeck, J.H. (1976). Mammals in the Pomonal area, Grampians. Victorian Naturalist 93. 138-147.

 

2 Cockburn, A. (1981). Population regulation and dispersion of the smoky mouse, Pseudomys fumeus II. Spring decline, breeding success and habitat heterogeneity. Australian Journal of Ecology6, 255-266.

 

3 De Bondi, N., White, J.G., Stevens, M., and Cooke, R. (2010). A comparison of the effectiveness of camera trapping and live trapping for sampling terrestrial small-mammal communities. Wildlife Research37, 456-465.

 

4 Wakefield, N. A. (1963). Mammal remains from the Grampians, Victoria. Victorian Naturalist 80, 130-133.

 

5 Bodey, M. (c.1900). ‘The early Wimmera’. Personal memoir. Personal communication.

 

6 Wakefield, N.A. (1974). Mammals of Western Victoria. In Douglas and O’Brien (Eds.), The Natural History of Western Victoria, pp. 35-51.

 

7 Carter, S. (1911). ‘Reminiscences of the early days of the Wimmera’. (Norman Brothers Printers: Melbourne.)

 

8 McQueen R. 1960. Native Cats on Wilson’s Promontory. Victorian Naturalist, 77, pp 206-207.

 

9 Paddle, R. 2002. The Last Tasmanian Tiger: The History and Extinction of the Thylacine. Published in Australia by Cambridge University Press

 

10 Fountain, P., and Ward, T. (1907). ‘Rambles of an Australian naturalist’. (John Murray, London.)

 

11 Lobert, B. (1988). The Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby (Petrogale penicillata) in the Grampians National Park and Black Range, Victoria. Part 1 – Survey. Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research Technical Report Series No. 64. Department of Sustainability and Environment, Heidelberg, Victoria.

 

 

history photo

L to R: Don Saunders (Director National Parks), Rod McKenzie ( Minister) , representative Stawell Shire, John Miller (1st Ranger in Charge), Ian McCann (1st Friend of Grampians).
L to R: Don Saunders (Director National Parks), Rod McKenzie ( Minister) , representative Stawell Shire, John Miller (1st Ranger in Charge), Ian McCann (1st Friend of Grampians).
A Picture
A Picture

History: Nature in the Serra Range

In our last issue we published Audas’s description of a Spring excursion on the flat land near Halls Gap. We continue his story on the next morning as they set out for a 2 day walk. Please note that the botanical names are sometimes hard to decipher. The library who have made this available on the web has used character recognition software to get into a text document and it has not always coped with Latin vocabulary. And of course some plant names have changed as well.


By J. W. AUDAS, F.L.S., F.R.M.S., Assistant, National Herbarium, Melbourne.

Read before the Field Naturalist’s Club of Victoria, 15th Jan., 1919.

Provisioned with food for a couple of days, we made an early start on Sunday morning (3 November) for that portion of the Serra Range lying to the south-west of Hall’s Gap. The first stage of the journey was via the Stony Creek track, past the diggings, during which some fine belts of timber were passed through, comprising Eucalyptus ovata and E. viminalis. Near Venus’s Bath we saw some nice specimens of Leptospermum lanigernm, var. grandifoliiim, the white flowers of which were fully an inch in diameter. This shrub, being quick-growing and of handsome appearance, would make a worthy addition to any garden. Other shrubs seen in flower were Prostanthera rotundifolia, Pomadcrris elachophylla, Pultencea villosa, Indigofera aiistralis, Spyridiwin parviflornm, var. hirsutissimum , Panax samhiicifoliiis, Coprosma hirtella, Dodoncea viscosa, and Viminaria denudat-a. Continuing up the jinker track, a fine view of Mackey’s Peak is obtained, and after passing the “Gulf Stream ” we came upon a fine patch of Utriciilaria dichotoma, known locally as “Rock Pansies,” many of the plants having the unusual number of four, and in some cases five, purple flowers on each stalk. Further on fine specimens of Boronia polygalifolia, var. piihescens, Leucopogon glacialis, Linum viarginale, Psciidanthns ovalifolins, Spyridiitm vexilliferitm, Laxmannia (Bartlingia) sessiliflora. Acacia vomcriformis, and Stypandra glauca, with its bright blue flowers,were collected. Mr. D’Alton has this plant growing well in his garden at Hall’s Gap in three different shades—blue, white, and pink. It is easily grown, and makes a very ornamental plant. Near the entrance to the Grand Canyon we found in flower Stylidium soboliferiim, peculiar to these parts, also the remarkably handsome orchid Thelymitra fusco-hitea. Proceeding along the track, we passed the prettily situated Pansy Fall. At this place the Stony Creek makes its way through a gorge where a number of nice little falls occur. Hereabouts grew Prostanthera debilis and Bauera sessiliflora, both peculiar to the Grampians ; the latter is a very handsome shrub, with spikes of magenta-coloured flowers, sometimes fully three feet in length. Just below the Turret Falls, which are quite close to the jinker track, beneath some overhanging rocks, some fine bushes of Prostanthera hirtella were found. It was too late for blossoms, it having passed that period. Here was seen a fine pair of Black Cockatoos, Calyptorhynchus funereits, which had a nest in the hollow of an adjacent tree. The birds were loath to leave their nest, and allowed us to pass within twenty or thirty yards of them. Along the track some good specimens of Pultencea styphelioides, P. mollis, Pimelea ligustrina, Caiistis pentandra, Phyllanthiis thymoides, Grevillea aquifoliiim, Hakea rostrata, Brachycome midtifida, Stylidium graminifolium, Podolepis acuminata, Brunonia australis, and Viola hetonicifolia were gathered. Arriving at Stony Creek diggings at mid-day, we boiled the billy and enjoyed our sandwiches. After a short rest, and before leaving, we collected Pultenaa suhumbellata, Goodia lotifolia (locally known as Clover-bush), Epacris obtusifolia, Samhucus Gaudichaiidiana, Calytrix tetragona, Daviesia tdicina, Sphcerolohium vimineiim, Pimelea /lava, P. curviflora, Stackhousia flava, and Olearia speciosa, the latter peculiar to these parts. Proceeding on our journey, we travelled in a southerly direction for a couple of miles, gradually working round till we reached the back of Mount Rosea. Having ascended to the top, we were rewarded with a fine view of the Victoria Valley on the one side and Hall’s Gap on the other.

History: Founding of the Grampians National Park

The latest Parkwatch, the magazine of the Victorian National Parks Association had an article by Evelyn Feller on the founding of the Grampians National Park as part of their celebration of 60 years of activity.


Grampians National Park – A Victorian Icon

As part of VNPA’s 60th anniversary, Evelyn Feller looks back at the long campaign for a Grampians National Park.

One of the earliest appeals for a Grampians National Park was in a 1912 Argus editorial in response to a deliberately lit fire in the Victoria Valley north of Dunkeld. The editor urged protection for the area before the opportunity was lost. “These things are often neglected or overlooked during the infancy of a country: and then there comes a time, after the land has been alienated, when a lost opportunity is lamented.”

In 1937 the Ararat Shire president Councillor Alex McDonald endorsed a national park to further encourage tourism and protect the area’s unique flora and fauna. He faced counter arguments including that the existing state forest reserve was a de facto national park anyway, and the Forest Commission was better staffed and funded than a ranger and committee of management (as parks were managed at the time). The Ararat Australian Natives Association also opposed his efforts, raising the spectre of careless tourists causing bushfires.

In 1952, frustrated at the lack of progress in developing an agency to manage national parks, the VNPA was formed to lobby for new, adequately funded national parks.

While groups such as the Stawell and Ararat Field Naturalists, supported by Melbourne Field Naturalists, had been lobbying for a Grampians park for many years, their efforts were met with strong opposition from groups who raised concerns about the potential loss of sawmill jobs in Stawell and feared foxes, rabbits and other vermin would overrun the area, increasing erosion and contaminating water supplies. One of the first activities of the VNPA was to counter this park opposition through the local media.

Aside from championing a Grampians national park, the VNPA were involved in other campaigns to protect the Little Desert and Alps. The Little Desert campaign resulted in the formation of the Land Conservation Council (LCC) meaning future land-use decisions could only be made after a comprehensive review of an area’s resources, instead of being made arbitrarily by a minister.

The LCC review of the Grampians area began in 1978, generating an energetic campaign by park supporters and opponents. Locally, Ian McCann of the Stawell Field Naturalists (and author of the VNPA ‘In Flower’ books) was tireless in his efforts to see the National Park come into existence.

For its part, the VNPA formed a subcommittee to produce submissions and critique LCC reports. Members included Geoff Durham, Malcolm and Jane Calder, Janet Coveney and Dick Johnson.

The VNPA’s 1979 submission to the LCC made clear the key impediment to a national park was determining which agency would control the area. VNPA’s submission described the overlapping jurisdictions between the Forests Commission and other agencies resulting in ‘confusion and apathy’. Campgrounds such as Zumsteins and Halls Gap had deteriorated, with limited visitor facilities and opportunities for park interpretation. The submission also described the adverse effects of grazing and lack of supervision of stock. It concluded conservation could best be achieved by an adequately staffed and funded national parks service.

The Grampians Fringe Advisory Association, a group comprised of farmers whose properties bordered the proposed park, opposed the park claiming only very fit walkers would be able to access many parts of the reserve because road access would be restricted. Concerned as well that 1080 would not be used in the park to kill vermin, they organised public meetings to rally opposition to the proposal.

Local sawmillers, the forest industry and Forests Commission were also opposed to a park, concerned about the potential loss of sawmilling jobs in Stawell, where 67 people worked in the industry. But a report for the Conservation Council of Victoria pointed out that in 1978 tourism produced double the revenue of sawmilling.

In addition to writing submissions, the VNPA subcommittee met local naturalist groups and media to point out the economic benefits of the park, as well as attending a forum by the local ALP.

Members of the VNPA wrote letters to educate the public and explain the LCC process, and the VNPA  undertook market research on local concerns. . To counter opposition the VNPA were low key and non-controversial.

Other campaign initiatives included commissioning Jane Calder to write a book, The Grampians-a noble range, documenting the magnificent cultural and natural attributes of the Grampians.

With campaigning by the VNPA and other groups, the final recommendations of the LCC were a great improvement on its initial ones, with a much larger area dedicated to a national park and management by the national park service. However the VNPA was dismayed by the continuation of logging in over 40% of the Grampians (logging finally ended in 1994).

With the Cain Labour government policy in the early 80s in favour of the national park, the Grampians National Park was declared on 1 July 1984 covering 160,000 hectares, measuring 95km from north to south and 55km west to east.

Park supporters celebrated the inauguration of the park with a champagne and Vegemite breakfast in Halls Gap. The VNPA also organised a ‘Grampians Gathering’ with activities and official speeches. Local concerns about the new park were alleviated through involving the public in the development of management plans and ensuring staff were readily available to discuss any concerns.

Improvements such as upgraded walking tracks and camping areas, A Visitor Centre and visitor guides also followed, and the Brambuk Centre near Halls Gap is now owned and run by Aboriginal communities of south-western Victoria.

Today the Grampians National Park is one of the most popular parks in Victoria with over 1.5 million visitor days per year. An 1994 economic analysis showed that the economic benefit of tourism to the area were over $100 million per year, generating 1270 jobs.

In this 60th anniversary year of the VNPA, members are strongly encouraged to visit the Grampians and reacquaint themselves with the wonders of the park. Join the Friends of Grampians Gariwerd (see below) in one of their many activities to help ensure the Grampians remain a really great national park.

Breakout:  20,000 years of human history

Indigenous people have been living in the Grampians area, known to them as Gariwerd, for more than 20,000 years. The Grampians contain about 80% of all known Aboriginal rock art sites in Victoria. Motifs painted in numerous caves include depictions of humans, human hands, animal tracks and birds. Brambuk, the National Park and Cultural Centre, continues to keep alive the culture of the Djab Wurrung and Jardwadjali, the traditional peoples of Gariwerd and the region.

Breakout: Friends indeed – Friends of Grampians Gariwerd

In 1984 the VNPA helped form the Friends of Grampians Gariwerd (FOGG), the first president being Halls Gap resident Val Hastings, an active worker for the establishment of the national park.

With a membership of about 80, the group’s  activities include flora and fauna monitoring,  weedingand working to help locals and visitors to enjoy, understand and appreciate the Park.

Members of FOGG successfully opposed the reopening of the Heatherlie quarry and the privatisation of the visitor centre in the 1990’s.  Members of the group have also served on the park Advisory Committee, and established the accessible Red Gum Walk in the Victoria Valley. Go to  http://friendsofgrampiansgariwerd.org.au/  for more information.


Thank you VNPA and Evelyn for this piece of history. The article was accompanied by some photos of the Grampians and of us monitoring orchids, and one which Thelma supplied of the official opening, which is on our photos page.