Before European settlement the Aboriginal people lived along the Murray River or Dungalah as referred to by traditional owners. They relied on the river system to provide food and shelter.
Groups of indigenous clans included Pangarang, Kailtheban, Wollithiga, Moira, Ulupna, Bangerang, Kwat Kwat, Yalaba Yalaba and Ngurai-illiam-wurrung clan.
These clans roamed throughout the region until the arrival of Europeans, dramatically affecting the indigenous population and their life as they knew it.
Yorta Yorta clans were denied their inherent rights and prevented from entering traditional hunting and fishing grounds and spiritual sites. In effect, it had become illegal for them to practice their own laws, beliefs and customs. Some European arrivals reported friendly contacts and others experienced serious conflicts, some resulting in white and Aboriginal deaths.