The natural environment of the many lakes and rivers is extremely important to the Aboriginal people. The local Barapa Barapa people occupied this area for thousands of years and lived in harmony with the land, adapting to the changing conditions. They moved between the flood plain and the Mallee through the year, using available resources.
The area provided materials such as timber, bark and reeds and a variety of foods including mussels, fish, yabbies, birds’ eggs, possums and important plants such as cumbungi, nardoo and yam daisies. Evidence of Aboriginal occupation can still be found in the various scar trees, cooking mounds and middens.
In October 2016, Museum Victoria undertook a bioscan on Gunbower Island. The project marked 160 years since William Blandowski's first expedition in the same area in 1856. "The Murray Explored" project has produced a wonderful video of some of their discoveries.