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Culture and heritage

Aboriginal heritage

The Park is within the Traditional lands of the Wadawurrung people.

Wadawurrung people have a long history in the area, both before European settlement and in more recent times. The Woowookarung area was used by the Wadawurrung for shelter and everyday life when seasonal conditions on the surrounding volcanic plains became less favourable than in the warmer months.

The Wadawurrung continue to use this area today for a variety of cultural purposes, including as a source of materials for ceremonies and other activities.

Woowookarung Regional Park is also a backdrop for the passing of cultural knowledge between local Aboriginal people, and a landscape in which principles of caring for Country can be practised by all.

Other historic legacy

This area saw a significant population influx during the 1850s gold rush when it was intensively mined. The nearby Canadian Lead was among the richest in the Ballarat area and was mined intensively for gold. During this period, the forest provided a source of firewood and timber for the construction of mine shafts and other purposes, and this use continued over subsequent decades.

The Canadian Lead, the Ballarat suburb of Canadian, the Canadian Creek and the Canadian Regional Park (now Woowookarung Regional Park) are thought to be named after gold miner Captain Henry Ross, who emigrated from Canada during the gold rush. Ross became a successful miner and also played a key role in the Eureka rebellion of 1854.

Plantation forestry was established in the area during the 1950s-1960s and continued until 2012, after which time the land was divested to the State government in response to a two year community driven campaign to secure and protect the park area for future generations.