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Wave Rock Aboriginal Cultural Tours

REGION : Gold Fields
LOCATION : Wave Rock Motel, 1 Wave Rock Rd, Hyden 6359
OWNERSHIP: Aboriginal owned & operated
CONTACT : Sheenagh Collins
PHONE : 0429 805 052
EMAIL : hydenhotel@bigpond.com

Key Experiences

  • Explore the gnamma holes that were made and used by the Aboriginal people as they camped and traded throughout the Hyden area.
  • Discover the legend, stories and rock art sites at Mulka's Cave and the Humps.
  • Learn about the ancient lifestyle, hunting, fauna and flora such as the Casuarina trees (Sheoaks) which were often used for making wooden shields and utensils and the local Quandong, an important food source which was considered a suitable substitute when meat was in short supply.

Wave Rock - This massive granite cliff formed over 60 million years ago, was a significant cultural meeting place, where groups from far and wide such as Noongar, Yamatji and Wongi people, used to gather - it was also an important ceremonial dance ground.

Ancient Trading Grounds - Stone artefacts and old campfires dating back over 400 years signify its importance as an ancient camping and trading route. In 1960, some crystals were discovered and dated at 2700 million years old, among the oldest in Australia. Trade was a very important part of Aboriginal lifestyle, as it was essential for maintaining the economical, cultural and social aspects of traditional lifestyle.

Gnamma Holes - Rainfall is low and unpredictable in Australia’s arid regions, but water can be found if you know where to look. The traditional owners and traders of these lands depended on and protected hidden water sources for many thousands of years. One of their main sources of water was ‘gnamma’ holes. These natural cavities are commonly found in hard rock, particularly granite outcrops, and as such act as natural water tanks which are replenished from rainwater runoff. Gnamma holes vary in shape and depth, and the small surface area of the hole helps to minimise evaporation. The Aboriginal people would lay sticks, leaves and flat rocks over the narrow opening of the gnamma holes in order to protect the precious water sources from being fouled by animals and to further prevent evaporation.

Rock Art - The dominant art style in Mulka’s Cave is the hand stencils, of which there are over 140 examples representing both adults and children. Stencils are made by placing the hand on the rock then blowing over it with pigment. When the hand is removed, a negative impression remains. The reason for making hand stencils are many, but principally they are a form of signature left by those who had rights to the area. There are also some Aboriginal line paintings which are often outlined with the finger or with a fibrous twig dipped in crushed ochre mixed with water.

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