Culture and heritage
Wilsons Promontory National Park has an early history of Aboriginal occupation with archaeological records dating back at least 6500 years.
The Prom had (and still has) spiritual significance for different Aboriginal groups, who knew the area as Yiruk or Wamoon. The area was a valuable food source, particularly in summer.
Aboriginal people may have used the Prom, which was then part of a 'land bridge', to reach Tasmania during past Ice Ages.
Today, local Aboriginal communities are active in establishing cultural and spiritual links with the park and in undertaking park management activities.
George Bass and Matthew Flinders were probably the first Europeans to see the Prom, on their 1798 voyage from Sydney, and Bass is thought to have named it after a London friend of Flinders. They recognised its commercial value of seals, whales and timber, as well as cattle grazing, which went on for nearly a hundred years.
The Prom's position means it is important for navigation in the turbulent waters of Bass Strait, and a lighthouse was built on South East Point in 1859.
Following campaigns by the Field Naturalists Club of Victoria, and lobbying by the Royal Society of Victoria, the Victorian government temporarily reserved most of the Promontory as a national park in 1898. Permanent reservation followed in 1908, although the Yanakie area north of the Darby River was not added until the 1960s.
A chalet for visitors was built at Darby River, but for many years a trip to the Prom was quite an adventure, involving a boat trip across Corner Inlet and a horse ride, or a car drive along the beach, with the risk of being swamped by waves. The main entrance road was not completed until the 1930s.
During World War II the Prom was used for commando training and was closed to the public. Army buildings at Tidal River formed the nucleus of a post-war holiday village that gradually developed as more people came to the Prom.
The entrance road was sealed in 1970-71 with visitor numbers increasing steadily.
Did you know?
Sealing was underway at Sealers Cove soon after it was named by George Bass in 1798.
Historian Patrick Morgan calls the men who descended on the coves of Wilsons Promontory and the islands of Bass Strait as "a motley group of vagabond freebooters" who lived a rough, Robinson Crusoe-like existence, often in the company of Aboriginal women whom they had kidnapped.
They wore kangaroo and seal skins and survived on local wildlife and by growing a few vegetables and on basic supplies dropped from passing ships.
Occasionally, the sealers were joined by convicts escaping from Van Diemans Land.
Sealing was a lucrative business. According to the Sydney Gazette of July 1804, in 18 months, one ship alone had collected 28,282 skins and 266 gallons of oil from the 63 men working in the straights.
By the 1840s, the great sea elephants had disappeared entirely from Bass Strait and Australian fur seal numbers had dropped to about 100!
13 Feb 2014
Over 8 million visitors to St Kilda Pier now have better access the St Kilda harbour as a result of a $1.65 million upgrade to the St Kilda Pier jetty arm. The works to upgrade St Kilda jetty arm were officially opened on Tuesday 11 February 2014 and are now…
12 Mar 2014
The Grey-headed Flying-fox is the largest flying-fox (also known as a fruit bat) species in Australia. Each month the Australian Research Centre for Urban Ecology conduct the monthly bat count at Yarra Bend Park at dusk on the Wednesday evening closest to the risen full moon. This data is critical…
15 Mar 2014 9:00am - 16 Mar 2014 5:00pm
The Back to Steiglitz community art group will have an exhibition in St Paul's church, Steiglitz. There will be 4 artists displaying their works in a variety of mediums and styles. Historic buildings will be open to the public. The Back to Steiglitz group will provide food and drinks for…
16 Mar 2014 2:00pm-4:00pm
To celebrate Cultural Diversity Week Mornington Peninsula Shire and Parks Victoria invites you to a screening of Alias Ruby Blade - A story of love and revolution The acclaimed documentary film follows Kirsty Sword Gusmao who aspired to be a filmmaker and instead became a revolutionary. Whilst working for the…
23 Mar 2014 9:00am-3:00pm
Help create koala habitat and learn about koalas. Enjoy a day helping Koalas in the wild. Search for koalas, monitor their behaviour, remove weeds from their habitat and take records of all other wildlife seen, all in the company of a highly experienced Koala Researcher. Part of the day is…
Happy International Women’s Day! Photo: Ranger Deb Cross at the Gil Groggin Fir...Happy International Women’s Day! Photo: Ranger Deb Cross at the Gil Groggin Fire north of Buchan.View post | Sat, 08 Mar 2014 09.42
The Mt Zero area in Grampians National Park has re-opened in time for the long w...The Mt Zero area in Grampians National Park has re-opened in time for the long weekend to provide visitors with a walking experience in the Northern Grampians. Many areas in the park are now open after the fire in January. Full details here http://ow.ly/ukBMTView post | Fri, 07 Mar 2014 17.11
Thanks to all our Facebook friends who have sent in their favourite park photos...Thanks to all our Facebook friends who have sent in their favourite park photos this week to help inspire your next park visit. Enjoy your local parks and beyond this long weekend to help celebrate the end of Parks Week.Friends Parks Week photosThanks to all our Facebook friends who have sent in their favourite park photos this week to help inspire your next park visit. Enjoy your local parks and beyond this long weekend to help celebrate the end of Parks Week.View post | Fri, 07 Mar 2014 13.45
Introducing the newest recruit to join the Werribee Park horticultural team, See...Introducing the newest recruit to join the Werribee Park horticultural team, See Me. He is from the Karen people of Burma and lived for 15 years in a refugee camp before coming to Australia. See Me is being sponsored by Matchworks and will be working with us for the next 11 months while he completes a Certificate Three in Horticulture. We’re celebrating the many park connections with Victoria’s rich multicultural community during Parks Week. http://ow.ly/ui2jQView post | Thu, 06 Mar 2014 16.14
Clean Up Australia Day events at Kalimna Park and Golden Point Reserve last week...Clean Up Australia Day events at Kalimna Park and Golden Point Reserve last weekend resulted in 4 cubic metres of rubbish being removed from the bush in and around Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park. We would like to say a big thank you to all the volunteers for their efforts on the day. http://ow.ly/uhMnvView post | Thu, 06 Mar 2014 11.43