Budj Bim

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Budj Bim is the Gunditjmara name for the extinct volcano Mount Eccles in southwestern Victoria, Australia. The name means High Head.

The eruptions of the volcano 30,000 to 40,000 years ago [1] produced the Tyrendarra lava flow which flowed in a generally southerly direction into the ocean at Tyrendarra.[2] The flow disrupted the earlier drainage system; to the east the Fitzroy River now flows cleanly between the rocks of the lava flow and the Mount Clay escarpment; to the west its tributary Darlot Creek flows through a more complex landscape of swamps, wetlands and adjacent low-lying land prone to flooding.

The name Budj Bim has been given to two areas on the Australian National Heritage List, proclaimed in 2004,[2] the Budj Bim National Heritage Landscape - Tyrendarra Area and the Budj Bim National Heritage Landscape - Mount Eccles Lake Condah Area.


The Budj Bim areas have been included on the Heritage List because of their importance in the history of the Gunditjmara.

From some thousands of years before European occupation, the Gunditjmara developed a system of aquaculture which channelled the water of the Darlot Creek into adjacent lowlying areas trapping eels and fish in a series of weirs. This provided a year-round supply of eels which were harvested with woven traps and often smoked in hollows of the Manna Gum (Eucalyptus viminalis), and permitted a forager society to develop into a settled society constructing permanent stone dwellings.

After the European occupation from the late 1830s, the rocks and uneven land of the lava flow permitted attacks on settlers and the means to escape from reprisal as the terrain was unsuited to horses. Attempts to pacify the Gunditjmara led to the Eumeralla Wars which did not conclude until the 1860s.

The Lake Condah Mission, established in 1868, is important to the history of the Gunditjmara, under the various policies of State authorities.

The Mount Eccles Lake Condah Area[edit]

This area includes the Mount Eccles National Park and the Condah Mission Station at Lake Condah on Darlot Creek to the west 38°03′44″S 141°50′00″E / 38.06222°S 141.83333°E / -38.06222; 141.83333 (Budj Bim Lake Condah), with the addition of recently purchased properties linking the two and in the east towards Lake Gorrie.

Condah Mission Station[edit]

The Condah Mission Station was established in 1868 after agitation from displaced Gunditjmara to be permitted to live near the places from which they had been removed. In 1885 the permanent mission church was built from local stone.

In 1886 the Half-Caste Act, or an Act to amend an Act entitled "An Act to Provide for the Protection and Management of the Aboriginal Natives of Victoria" was passed which provided for the removal of all people other than fullblood Aboriginals from reserves. The Aborigines Act of 1910 rescinded that decision, and many aboriginals returned.

In 1950 it was decided that the Mission would close and the church and other facilities were destroyed to facilitate this:

Condah Mission Station Church, 1885. Destroyed 1950. Stones used to enlarge Church of England Hamilton and to pave cowyards.[3]

In 1959 the reserve was revoked and all remaining people were evicted.

Following the Aboriginal Land (Lake Condah and Framlingham Forest) Act 1987, the 53 hectare former reserve was vested to the Kerrup Jmara Elders Corporation.

The Kerrup Jmara Elders Corporation entered liquidation during the 1990s.

The reserve was eventually vested to the Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation (Registered Native Title Corporate) in 2008 by the Commonwealth Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Hon. Jenny Macklin.

The Tyrendarra Area[edit]

This area (38°12′S 141°46′E / 38.200°S 141.767°E / -38.200; 141.767 (Budj Bim Tyrendarra)) comprises the Peters site between the Fitzroy River and Darlot Creek purchased by the Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation in May 2010 (after some years' leasehold) and the Kurtonitj wetlands to the north acquired by the Corporation in September 2009.[4]

Much of the area was part of the Mount Clay squatting run (established in 1841) and the later property Keeleeng; the landscape and vegetation was seldom disturbed leaving the tumuli, stone huts and the infrastructure of the aquaculture. To the south of the Australian National Heritage List area (on both sides of the Princes Highway the landscape has been compromised by the removal of stone for fencing and, more recently, the crushing of stone to provide material for road building. As a result, most rock features have disappeared.


  1. ^ Grimes, Ken (2013). "The Ages of Our Volcanoes" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-08-05. 
  2. ^ a b "Entry AHD105678". Australian Heritage Database. Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. Retrieved 2010-05-28. 
  3. ^ Learmonth, Noel F., ''Four Towns and a Survey., Hawthorn Press: Melbourne, 1970 ISBN 0725600128
  4. ^ Indigenous Land Corporation, Land Purchased VIC, retrieved 2010-05-28 

Coordinates: 38°04′S 141°55′E / 38.067°S 141.917°E / -38.067; 141.917 (Budj Bim Mount Eccles)