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Culture and heritage

Aboriginal people had an intimate knowledge of the geography, flora and fauna of their land, all of which had spiritual significance. The Aborigines of this area suffered greatly from the effects of European settlement, but Aboriginal communities and people are now actively involved in park management and in recovering their heritage.

Squatters took up land in the area in the 1840s and ran sheep and cattle. Later in the century came selectors who established smaller farms and grew crops as well as grazing animals. The remains of homesteads and fences submerged by the waters of Lake Eildon can still be seen when the lake level is low.

The original Fraser National Park was established in the 1950s in association with the development of Lake Eildon, which was first constructed in the 1920s and enlarged in the 1950s to store water for irrigation and hydro-electricity. The damming of the Goulburn River at Eildon submerged much of the farmland and forest in the Upper Goulburn and Delatite Valleys and created a water storage with a capacity six times larger than that of Sydney Harbour.

Former farmland on the lake’s western shore became a national park, and indigenous trees and shrubs slowly regenerated on the cleared land. Later, extensive areas of forest south of the lake were protected as Eildon State Park, which was then joined to Fraser NP to create Lake Eildon NP.