Did you know ... that the Wathaurong People who lived in this area for many thousands of years, built substantial stone dwellings?

146140366 QMPSv-TiSome of these were the size of a small church or hall and could house 40 or more people. Usually surrounding a large building such as this, was a village of smaller homes, which were built with stone or timber walls.

For instance, in the 1800s a stone dwelling was found in Bannackburn that was approximately 30 feet in diameter. Subsequently, in an act of racism it was destroyed by the farmer on whose land it was found. 

Over the domed timber roof structure many Wathaurong families grew bower spinach, a staple vegetable, which provided fresh green salad leaves and sweet red berries later in the year. Also, the bower spinach, and the earth in which it grew, helped insulate the houses against summer heat and winter cold. It is interesting to note that this technique can be seen today on the Marine Discovery Centre building in Queenscliff, where native grasses are growing on the roof.

During the year, when Wathaurong families travelled around for various reasons, such as checking their lands and collecting different foods and materials, they built smaller, temporary homes of bark. These dwellings, called mia mia’s, became more common after the 1840s mainly because the Wathaurong were on the run from the violence that was occurring and were denied access to their lands for permanent living.

Provided by Uncle David Tournier