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Culture and heritage

Under 100 years ago, most of South Gippsland was one vast forest mainly consisting of Mountain Ash and other eucalypts.

From the 1870s, settlers cleared the land for dairy farming purposes in the western Strzelecki Ranges, leaving only a few scattered areas of forest. The rugged and steeper slopes of the eastern Strzelecki Ranges were opened for selection in the 1890s and settlers' cottages soon dotted the ridges. Due to the harsh conditions and the rugged nature of the land, many farms were abandoned or became neglected.

The quality of the fern gullies led Alberton Shire Council, in 1904, to reserve small areas of forest near Balook, and in the Tarra Valley in 1909. The former was named Bulga, an Aboriginal word meaning mountain, while the latter was named after Charlie Tarra, an Aboriginal who guided Strzelecki and his party through Gippsland in 1840.

Following recommendations by the Land Conservation Council, the two separate national parks were joined through a land exchange with APM Forests Pty Ltd. The park was re-named Tarra-Bulga National Park and was declared in June 1986.

The centenary of the establishment of Bulga Park was celebrated in 2004 and a history of the park was produced. Copies are available at the park or from the Friends Group.