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Gawa Wurundjeri Resource Walk

Home > Melbourne > Australian Native Food | Places of Interest | Walks
by Neil Follett (subscribe)
I'm a retired photographer living in Lilydale mainly researching and writing on Australian aviation history. Now writing more on general subjects.
Published November 22nd 2019
Wander where the Wurundjeri Wandered
The resource walk is a short (340 metres) self-guided walk amongst indigenous vegetation bordering on Watsons Creek, learning about how the local Wurundjeri people used the available natural resources for food, medicines, shelter and clothes.

Resource walk sign
The entrance.

The flat and narrow paths would not be suitable for wheelchairs.

bush path
The start of the walk.

The path is in the form of a loop which meanders past significant flora that sustained life for the Wurundjeri people.

Typical of the vegetation.

A feature of the walk is eleven illustrated panels depicting significant items at that location. The first panel tells of welcome ceremonies when visiting tribes met there.

Welcome panel
The first panel welcomes you.

The next panel tells how the tea tree or Burgan stems were used as spears.

Tea tree
The tea tree and panel.

The tea tree flower.
The tea tree in flower.

Another tells how the spiny headed mat-rush was used to weave baskets to carry food and other items that had been fossicked.

Mat-rush sign
Explaining the uses of the mat-rush bush.

mat-rush bushes
The very versatile mat-rush bushes.

A panel next to a wombat burrow details the fauna that the Wurundjeri hunted for food. Apart from wombats, hunted and gathered were kangaroos, wallabies, emus, possums, insects, ant eggs and bogong moths.

wombat information
How to catch a wombat.

Wombat burrow
The entrance to a wombats home.

Bracken ferns were used as mattresses, ointments and for making bread type food.

fern sign
Explaining the uses for the bracken fern.

bracken ferns
A field of ferns.

The Victorian Christmas bush was used for food flavouring and medicinal purposes.

Christmas bush.
A Christmas bush and sign.

Echidnas were considered a fatty and delicious meat and was reserved for the elders of the tribe.

Echidna details.

The manna gum served many purposes. The bark was used for many items including dishes and even canoes. The bark also harboured a small grub.

manna gum sign
Explaining the uses for the manna gum.

manna gum
Manna gum.

Acacia or wattle trees are a very hard wood and were used to make shields, clubs, digging sticks and boomerangs. The sap, when dissolved in water made a sweet drink. The sap was also used as a sealing agent for baskets and canoes.

wattle trees sign
Wattle trees are very versatile

Watsons Creek is on the border of the walk and the Wurundjeri used it as a source of yabbies, mussels, eels, and blackfish. Ducks were also caught, being attracted by the water. The creek was also the source of their water. Even today, the water in the creek is very clear.

Watsons Creek sign
Watsons Creek an important source of food.

Watsons Creek
Watsons Creek.

The bark from the red stringybark tree was used as slabs to construct shelters with acacia trees used to make a frame.

Stringybark tree sign
Another very versatile tree.

On all the panels the indigenous names for items were explained. This short walk is extremely educational in the ways of the original inhabitants of our great land. I would recommend that once children reach the age of being interested in the world around them, they are initiated to this walk.

Peaceful though it is, there is the hum of traffic from the road. The only birds I saw and heard was the almost constant cackle of cockatoos, with only two showing themselves.

Kissing cockatoos.

The Gawa walk is a little out of the way, but it would be well worth seeking it out on an outing to the area. About half a kilometre west is the Dark Horse Café, well worth a visit for coffee or lunch. Further west is the Kangaroo Ground War Memorial Park and Tower.

It is only about ten kms from both Eltham and Warrandyte, so a day's outing would be educational and fulfilling.

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Why? Extremely educational.
When: Anytime
Where: Eltham-Yarra Glen Road, Watsons Creek. Melways map: 272 E. 4.
Cost: free
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