Aboriginal people have had an association with the Grampians, traditionally known as Gariwerd, for thousands of years. Gariwerd is at the centre of creation stories for many of the Aboriginal communities in south-western Victoria. Discoveries of Indigenous Australian artefacts in the region include ancient oven mounds, scatterings of stone left over from tool making and ancient rock art sites.
Brambuk – The National Park and Cultural Centre
Visit the Brambuk centre in Halls Gap to see fascinating displays of art and artefacts. Join a tour with Aboriginal guides to visit rock art sites and to learn about local Aboriginal culture and the land's spiritual significance.
The centre is housed in an extraordinary building with an undulating roof that represents the wings of a cockatoo and the mountains of Gariwerd.
Extraordinary rock art
The region has the largest number of rock art sites in southern Australia – more than 80 per cent of Victoria's rock art sites. Approximately 60 art sites, containing more than 4,000 different motifs have been identified in the national park.
Five shelters are open to the public and are all easily accessible: Manja and Billimina shelters in the Western Grampians, Ngamadjidj and Gulgurn Manja shelters in the north and, one of the most important sites in Victoria, Bunjil's shelter, near Stawell.
Aboriginal rock art shelters
Billimina – Grampians National Park
Start this walk at the Buandik camping ground and follow Billiamina Creek upstream to the Buandik Falls. From there a short walk leads you to the shelter. This massive rock overhang was once a meeting place for the Jardwadjali people, and is covered with over 2,500 motifs that consist of red ochre bar strokes.
Billywing Road off Henty Highway, Western Grampians
Gulgurn Manja – Grampians National Park
Gulgurn Manja means 'hands of young people'. The Gulgurn Manja Shelter displays small handprints in red ochre. Signage outlines some of the stories and legends of the Jardwadjali people and the mountains they call Gariwerd.
Mt Zero Road, Northern Grampians
Manja – Grampians National Park
This fascinating large rock shelter is on the western side of the Grampians. Manja symbolises the link between the Jardwadjali and their land. It is believed that the hand stencils were a way of recording a visit to this incredible rock overhang. This rock site also has more hand stencils than any other site in Victoria.
Off Harrap Track via Glenelg River Road and Henty Highway, Western Grampians
Ngamadjidj – Grampians National Park
Take this self-guided walk to an Aboriginal art site that depicts the dancing spirit with white painted figures. The walk from the car park to Ngamadjidj Shelter is short and suitable for people with limited mobility.
Plantation Road and Grampians Road, Northern Grampians