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Culture

Gunbower Island is an area known for its rich cultural history and was once populated by three clans: The Barapa Barapa the Yorta Yorta and Wemba Wemba. In fact Gunbower Island has been inhabited by the traditional people for some 40,000 years and as such we at Wetlander Cruises would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land, the Barapa Barapa, Yorta Yorta and Wemba Wemba nations, its people and Elders past and present. We acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this region.

This is an area known for its rich cultural history and was once populated by Clans including Barapa Barapa, Yorta Yorta & Wemba Wemba. Evidence of shell middens scar trees, ring trees, earth mounds – ovens and stone artefacts can be found on Gunbower Island.

They were acutely adept at managing their environment in a manner which is highly sustainable and driven by intricate knowledge processes as well as having skills in designing sophisticated artefacts that were flexible and adaptable.

The Murray River (Dungulu) and Gunbower Creek (Kanbowro – meaning twisting and torturous like the neck of the black swans and long necked turtles) were a rich source of food of all descriptions including fish, yabbies, mussels, turtles, frogs, birds, insects, grubs, cumbungi reeds, and water lilies. Kangaroo, wallaby and possum were hunted in the forest.

The Yorta Yorta and Barapa Barapa made canoes from the bark of the trees to travel the river and creeks and swam to gather their food. If they moved away from the river it would be in winter when the river level rose and inundated the flood plain. The construction of fish traps and nets showed their knowledge of the rivers ways; by trapping fish in the shallow water courses when the river levels dropped they ensured a continuing supply of fish.