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Culture and heritage

The land now known as Kinglake National Park has been important to people for many years and in many different ways. It has provided shelter and food, spiritual wellbeing, inspiration, gold, water and timber.

The Great Dividing Range was the boundary between the Wurundjeri people to the south and the Taungurung people to the north. Aboriginal people had an intimate knowledge of the geography, flora and fauna of the country.

For many thousands of years Wurundjeri and Taungurung people inhabited this area and made use of the abundance of seasonally available flora and fauna, and to carry-out important cultural duties. Flora and fauna served many purposes including temporary shelters, transport, food, medicine, clothing, hunting implements and many other important cultural items.

Seasonal movement within their traditional lands was determined by the availability of food and weather conditions.

Present day Wurundjeri and Taungurung people still have a very strong connection with this area.

Many Aboriginal sites have been uncovered by the fires including scatters and hand tools. These sites are being surveyed and recorded so that they can be protected.

European settlers entered the Kinglake area in the hope of striking it rich. Shafts and diggings around the park are evidence of the gold mining days, but the gold fields were not very rich and soon timber cutting replaced mining in importance. By the 1920s the accessible timber supply was running out and potatoes and berry fruits became the principal products.

Agriculture brought large-scale clearing - seen by several prominent local people as a threat to the natural values of the area. Kinglake National Park was established in 1928 when 5,590ha was reserved. The area was named after the celebrated English author and lawyer, Alexander William Kinglake. Kinglake was popular for picnics, honeymoons and other outings in the 1920s and 30s.  Since then the park has grown through land donations and acquisitions.