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Indigenous Culture

The Indigenous people of Murray River Country have a close affinity with the rivers and landscapes of this unique natural environment. Dhungala, the mighty waterway known today as the Murray River, winds its way through Yorta Yorta, Wamba Wamba and Barapa Barapa Traditional Lands where the original inhabitants and custodians have lived for tens of thousands of years.

The Murray River and its environs are full of artefacts and evidence of Aboriginal habitation. Scarred trees, shell middens, cooking mounds, burial grounds, marker trees and sacred sites are all obvious reminders of the long and careful association and occupation of this land by the ancestors of the Yorta Yorta, Wamba Wamba and Barapa Barapa peoples.

The Barmah-Millewa forest complex lies at the heart of the Ancestral lands of the Yorta Yorta Nation on both sides of the Murray River near Barmah and forms the largest continuous natural River Red Gum-forest in the world. It is rich in plant and animal diversity and its ecology is closely linked to the flooding regime of the river and its associated wetlands creating a favoured natural habitat for water-birds and freshwater fish, important food sources for the Traditional Owners.

The Moulamein River Walk, which traces the Edward River and Billabong Creek, holds great cultural significance to the landscape of the Wamba Wamba people. This area is where the Aboriginal people hunted, fished, cooked, camped and held ceremonial gatherings as a community. Some points of cultural significance include The Big Tree, The Ring Tree, The Scarred Trees, The Shell Midden and Indigenous plants.

The Barapa Barapa people camped, hunted, fished and gardened in the Barham area for thousands of years before white explorers arrived. Their cooking mounds, scar trees, middens and artefacts can readily be found on private land and throughout the forests. Their country runs from the western edge of the Yorta Yorta boundary to the eastern edge of the Wamba Wamba boundary along the Murray River.

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