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Culture and heritage

The words Baw Baw are said to be an Aboriginal term for 'echo'. Another possible origin of the name is from the words ‘bo bo’, used on early maps and said to mean 'big' in an Aboriginal language.

In 1860, the renowned government botanist, Ferdinand von Mueller made the first recorded ascent of the Baw Baw Plateau. He named the peaks Mount Mueller and Mount Erica, after himself and a flowering plant of the locality respectively. Ferdinand used this expedition to further refine his theories about the relationship between Victorian and Tasmanian vegetation.

In 1906 the Public Works Department constructed a walking track between Warburton and Walhalla. The track gave access to the Beech forests and fern gullies of the upper Yarra, the spectacular Yarra Falls and the Baw Baw Plateau. Opened by the Governor of Victoria, the Yarra Track became one of Victoria’s most popular walking routes.

Unfortunately the Black Friday fires of 1939 burnt the huts and most of the area transversed by the track. The track was never rebuilt, although bushwalkers can follow part of the original route by following the Australian Alps Walking Track between Walhalla and Mount Whitelaw.