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Culture and heritage

Volcanic eruptions in the area began about 20,000 years ago and continued for the next 12,000 years, the last eruption occurring 8,000 years ago.

Aboriginal tribes resided in two areas around Budj Bim - one area south of the park at Lake Gorrie, the second at Lake Condah, west of the Park. They constructed stone huts in both areas and stone fish traps at Lake Condah, and lived on fish, native plants and animals. They were permanent residents in these areas until European settlement slowly pushed them out.

Budj Bim, then called Mount Eccles was declared a public purposes (picnic) reserve in 1926. The 35 ha were managed by a committee of local people who built the existing picnic shelter and the track down to and around the edge of Lake Surprise. After World War II, management was taken over by the Shire of Minhamite until 1960 when the park was declared a national park. In 1968, 400 ha were added by incorporating part of the Stones Flora and Faunal Reserve west of the mount.

When the remainder of the reserve was added in 1985, the park known as Mount Eccles National Park increased to 6120 ha, its present size, which covers the majority of the lava flow from Budj Bim.

In 2017 Mount Eccles National Park was renamed Budj Bim National Park. The story of the Gunditjmara people is intimately related to the volcanic eruption of around 30,000 years ago, when an ancestral creation-being revealed himself in the landscape to the Gunditjmara people. Budj Bim (meaning high head) is part of the ancestral creation-being’s body; his forehead is the mountain and the stones are his teeth.