Cultural heritage

Aboriginal heritage

The Walbanga and Djiringanj people are the traditional owners of what is now the Eurobodalla Shire. These groups form part of the Yuin Nation. Local Aboriginal communities within the Yuin Nation are actively involved in consultation on marine park issues affecting traditional use.

Montague Island

One of the most culturally and spiritually significant Aboriginal sites within Batemans Marine Park is Barunguba, or Montague Island, which is also a nature reserve.

  • Aboriginal island sites are rare on Australia's east coast, but Montague Island features artefact scatters and middens.
  • The Island, used by the local people for traditional ceremonies and as a source of food, is an important teaching place for men.
  • Dreaming stories and song lines link the Island to the mainland's Gulaga (Mount Dromedary) and Najanuga (Little Dromedary).
  • The local Aboriginal elders acknowledge that the Island is an important place for scientific research, management and public education. Park visitors are asked to respect the Island's significance to its traditional owners.

Murramarang Aboriginal Area

The Murramarang Aboriginal Area protects what is regarded as the south coast's largest midden. Shell middens are sites where Aboriginal people have gathered to eat edible shellfish and disposed of the shells. They may also contain fish and animal bones, stone tools and charcoal from campfires.

The lagoon north of the headland is home to a serpent associated with traditional beliefs about the creation of the land.

Aboriginal people continue to use the area for fishing, recreation and educational activities.

See Aboriginal Engagement and cultural use of fisheries resources policy for more information.

Maritime heritage

The south coast's post-European maritime heritage began in the 1800s.

  • Broulee was among the first towns settled in 1840.  Its bay provided a necessary sheltered harbour when all transport to and from the area was by sea.
  • The schooner Rover was wrecked at Candalagan Creek in 1841. Members of the Aboriginal community heroically rescued many of the passengers.
  • The town of Moruya quickly developed and by 1851 it was the center of Eurobodalla's development. Passengers and goods crossed the Moruya River by punt, and the town flourished after breakwaters and dykes made entry from the sea easier.
  • Shipbuilding began to thrive in Batemans Bay and Wagonga Inlet in the 1880s.
  • A lighthouse to protect coastal shipping was built on Montague Island in 1881.
  • Commercial fishing began in Eurobodalla during the nineteenth century.
  • Oyster farming kicked off early in the twentieth century. Today, oyster growers on the Clyde and Moruya Rivers, Tuross Lakes and Wagonga Inlet are thriving, supplying markets in Sydney, Canberra and Victoria.
  • More than 10 shipwrecks have been located in the park's waters and many more were lost with no structure remaining today. Notable wrecks include:
  • the John Penn near Broulee;
  • the Lady Darling in the park's far south.

Management of shipwrecks throughout Australia is primarily through the Commonwealth's Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976.