Bunurong People

The Bunurong People are Indigenous People from south-east Victoria, their traditional lands are from the Werribee River in the north-west, down to Wilson’s Promontory in the south-east, taking in the catchments of the old Carrum swamp, Tarwin River and Westernport Bay, and including Mornington Peninsula, French and Phillip Islands.

The lifestyle of the Bunurong people had been that of the hunter-gatherer. They used weapons (spears, boomerangs, stone axes, etc.) to hunt small animals, birds and fish. They gathered nutritious plants and berries as well as digging for yams and other edible tubers. As the Bunurong tribe lived close to the sea, they consumed shellfish (periwinkles, mussels and the like); the large shell middens on the cliffs at Beaumaris and Sandringham give testament to this.

At night, fires were vital to the people who cooked the day’s food supply and left small fires burning to provide some warmth as they slept nearby. When the clan moved to a new hunting place firesticks were carried with them so that they had no need to go through the time-consuming job of creating fire by vigorous rubbing of dry sticks. Like other indigenous Australians, the Bunurong moved about their own area, ranging over much of the Port Phillip coastal area, including the Mornington Peninsula, in search of food and water. Apart from the creeks, the tribe knew where fresh water springs existed. They lived a lifestyle that put little pressure on the environment.