Once upon a time, the Great Ancestor spirit of Bunjil, the creator, set at work to reform the Earth. He had the task of creation. Of the lakes and the seas, the mountains and the plains, the flora, and the fauna.
In this came the creation of the Grampians. As Bunjil finished with the sandstone ranges, he presume’s the body of an eagle, the Werpil. Thereupon he flew, to glance from above at his masterpiece: the Grampians. He watched the mountains, and the flowing of the river, the chirping of the birds, and the whispers of the Earth.
After some time, Bunjil realized the sandstone ranges and his other creations must be named. Thus this task was appointed to the two sons of the frog, Duke. The Bram Bram Bult brothers set out to finish the Great Ancestor’s work, and thereupon Gariwerd came into being, the indigenous name of the Grampians.
With his work complete, Bunjil thought it was time he took leave and marveled at his creation from up above. And so he transformed into a star in the sky, and till date looks upon his creations and people, in awe and protection.
The Grampians National Park, referred to as Gariwerd, is situated in the Grampians region of Victoria, Australia. The Grampians are a range of five, rugged sandstone mountains, rising rather abruptly from the western plains. The structure has various textures, being rugged and steep on the eastern side, whilst becoming gentler and smoother as it reaches its western part. Geologically, the formation of the Grampians is a marvel of valleys and peaks that Indigenous Australians residing in and near to the Grampians believe is due to Bunjil’s glory and magnificence that the ridges came into being.
Gariwerd is home to the Djab Wurrung and Jardwadjali people, who have lived here for more than 50,000 years. They consider the place to be sacred and special, with immense cultural significance. They believe ancestral spirits to be present at the mountains, and thus wish to safeguard their Dreamtime track, their Songline. Their stories are passed down through generations, by word of mouth storytelling, as well the art of scripture and animations. Many of the aboriginal people have tattoos of Bunjil, the Great Ancestor spirit, on various parts of their body, especially behind the skull. Whilst their rock caves have motifs of animals, birds, humans, and all such creations as a depiction of the work of Bunjil. A few of many sites include Manja (the Cave of Hands), Gulgurn Manja (the flat Rock) and Ngamadjidj (the Cave of Ghosts). Such rock paintings are also kept in shelters in various parts of the park, whilst a very important part of the park is located at its fringes, wherein lies the only known image of Bunjil, created thousands of years ago by the ancestral spirit himself. The image depicts a Buddha-resembling figure, with two Dingoes by his side. This holds immense importance for the Aboriginals of the area, as well as the visitors, as they get an inside look to the Indigenous culture.
Alongside the rock art sites, the Grampians also present themselves with the adventurous task of rock-climbing. As difficulty and sweat combine with the surreal experience of scaling these rugged ranges, this proves to be a major attraction for adventure-lovers out there. Whilst for those which aren’t fond of heights, there is the enticing aspect of fishing and canoeing in the Lake Bellfield and Lake Wartook. Or the idea of walking within the park, taking in the sights and smells, and getting a breath of fresh air, away from all worldly claims.
For the nature-loving, the park has a wide variety of animals, ranging from the Australian famous Kangaroos, to emus and the wedge-tailed eagles. Whilst the breathtaking flora includes the very rare Blue Pin Cushion Lily, and other varieties of herbs and shrubs, all on display, blooming and beautiful, especially in springtime.
The Grampians National Park is a highly enriched cultural site and had also been listed on the Australian National Heritage List. With the opportunity to not only learn the indigenous heritage, but also awe at the beauty of nature, this park is the one-stop for all visitors searching for a culturally enhanced and surreal experience.