Culture and heritage
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The Macedon Ranges are located within the traditional lands of the Wurundjeri people of the Woiwurrung language speaking group. For thousands of years (prior to European settlement), the Wurundjeri people followed a traditional "hunter/gatherer" lifestyle involving seasonal movement within their traditional lands to access seasonally available resources. These resources were used for food, medicine, cultural items and the construction of temporary shelters.
European pastoralists first settled in the area in the late 1830s and were followed by timber cutters eager to use the heavily wooded range for timber which was used for buildings, railway sleepers and goldmining props. The township of Middle Gully (now Macedon) was established in the 1850s as a stopover and supply point for travellers on their way to the Bendigo goldfields.
As the regional population grew, the demand for timber increased and by the 1870s most of the Macedon forests were gone. In 1872, the Victorian Government established the Macedon State Nursery to grow seedlings to revegetate the slopes. In the post gold rush Victorian era, Mount Macedon’s cool mountain climate attracted Melbourne’s wealthy elite, eager to escape the blistering city heat. Many of the stately homes built during this period can still be seen in the town today.
Fuelled by strong northwesterly winds, a fire that started in East Trentham on 16 February 1983 (Ash Wednesday) quickly spread to the northern slopes of the Macedon ranges and surrounding areas resulting in extensive damage to the park. Four hundred homes were destroyed and, sadly, seven lives were lost.