Mount Gambier - History
are many different spellings of the name of the people of the Mount
Gambier region. Booandik, Buandik, Boandik are some popular ones while
scholars use Bunganditj and Buanditj or similar variations.
The South East has always been an area rich in resources and Aboriginal people have lived here for at least 20 – 30,000 years.
Within a 30 km radius of Mount Gambier there are many caves which contain very ancient examples of finger fluting and engravings made by some of the early people to live here.
Some Aboriginal history has been captured in the many legends that have been written, the most relevant to our area being the Craitbul story, which gives an insight into the volcanic activity in the Mount Gambier area.
Craitbul Story tells of the giant ancestor of the Booandik People who long
ago made an oven at Mount Muirhead to cook for his wife and family. In
hearing the groaning voice of the bird spirit "Bullin" warning
them of the evil spirit "Tennateona", they fled to another site
where they built another oven (Mount Schank). Again they were frightened
off by the threat of the evil spirit and moved to "Berrin" where
they again made their oven (Mount Gambier). One day, water rose and the
fire went out. They dug other ovens, but each time water rose putting out
the fires. This occurred four times (the Valley Lake, Blue Lake,
Browne’s Lake and Leg of Mutton Lake). Finally Craitbul and his
family settled in a cave on the side of "Berrin’s " Peak.
Gambier was named after James Gambier, Lieutenant Governor at New Province
in the Bahamas. He joined the R.N. aged 11, reached Post-Captain at 22 and
Rear Admiral at 39. In 1802 he became Governor of Newfoundland and in
1807, Lord Gambier. He died in 1833 aged 76.
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