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Culture and heritage

Tower Hill formed at least 30,000 years ago when a hot rising basaltic magma came into contact with the subterranean water table. The violent explosion that followed created the funnel-shaped crater (later filled by a lake) and the islands seen today.

Artefacts found in the volcanic ash layers show that Aborigines were living in the area at the time of the eruption.

The Warrnambool area was a rich source of foods for the Koroitgundidj people, whose descendants retain special links with this country.

The first confirmed sighting of Tower Hill by Europeans was by French explorers sailing with Captain Baudin aboard the Geographe in 1802.

Tower Hill was declared Victoria's first national park in 1892, in an attempt to halt the decline of the once majestic volcano. However, grazing, crop growing, quarrying and rubbish dumping continued and took their toll. By the 1950s the hills and islands were bare and little wildlife remained. Tower Hill was declared a state game reserve in 1961.