The cultural heritage of the Australian Alps
The Alps reflects a history of diverse uses and connections. Retaining links with this past is an important part of management across the Australian Alps national parks.
They understood biodiversity and sustainability, flora and fauna, geology and fire management - all in caring for country'
Uncle Ernie, Taungurung Clan
The Australian Alps were home to Aboriginal people for thousands of years before the early 1800s when European pioneers and explorers moved in to the Alps. Although the alpine landscape can appear rugged and at times hostile, it is actually very fragile and sensitive to disturbance. For thousands of years Aboriginal people passed through leaving little obvious evidence of their presence in the landscape.
After the first European settlement in the early 1800s, graziers arrived in the 1820s and 30s, gold miners in the 1850s and saw millers soon after. Skiing was introduced to Australia at Kiandra gold fields in NSW in the 1860s. The past 60 years has seen the development of large hydro– electric and water supply schemes, extensive road networks, ski resorts and tourist facilities.
In little more than 200 years of European occupation, the Alps have witnessed remarkable changes, as well as achievements in exploration, engineering, recreation and farming. Although the human impact on the Alps has been great, the people who have passed through have left a rich, varied and fascinating heritage.