Archaeology at Lake Tyers
We recently had the great pleasure of being invited to Lake Tyers to prepare a Due Diligence report on behalf of the Coast Action group. We were very warmly welcomed before Barry Kenny of the Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation informed us of the area’s significance to his people. Jack Whadcoat of Coast Action then showed us the route along the foreshore where a walkway is planned.
The land around Lake Tyers has been used by Aboriginal people for approximately 24,000 years – the lake provided a rich source of food in the form of fish and waterbirds, and the vegetation around the lake was used for making implements and ornaments. In later years, after European settlement, a mission was established on the shores of the lake. This remains an important place for Aboriginal people and is administered by the Lake Tyers Aboriginal Trust.
Lake Tyers, named after the Commissioner for Crown Lands Charles Tyers, was used for recreation by European settlers in the region. Fishing and boating were popular, and tourist launches ferried people out across the lake. Many of these would visit the mission for a glimpse of Aboriginal life there. At times Reverend Bulmer was busier acting as tour guide than he was in running the mission.
Our visit to Lake Tyers was very productive and informative – the proposed walking track passes near land that has been used for asparagus farming, cattle grazing and is now earmarked for a residential subdivision. Two scatters of stone artefacts attest to the Aboriginal use of the land; the scatters include tools, flakes and cores made of silcrete and chert. There were also fragments of pottery and glass vessels, no doubt left by picnickers in days gone by.
We are grateful for the assistance provided by Coast Action and the Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation.