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Culture and heritage

For thousands years, Aboriginal people of the Gur Balug clan were sustained by the rich waters and woodlands of the Lake Hindmarsh area. The neighbouring Karroit Balug and Porronne Gundidji clans were located along the Wimmera River, upstream from Jeparit.

These three clans were among 20 making up the Wergaia language group. The Wergaia clans covered a large part of the surrounding woodlands and mallee scrub still called by its traditional name Wimmera – Mallee.

With the arrival of the first squatters and their flocks, the Aborigines' traditional lifestyle and social and cultural structures were severely affected and their numbers rapidly declined.

Explorer Edmund John Eyre followed the course of the Wimmera River in 1838 and named Lake Hindmarsh after the first Governor of South Australia.

By 1859 the Ebenezer Mission Station was established at Antwerp, between Jeparit and Dimboola, to provide for the remaining Aborigines. The mission closed in 1904 but the ruins remain.