This area is situated on the Chiltern to Beechworth Road, about 12 km from either town. There are two main features:-
The Mt Pilot Lookout
This is situated at the top of Mt Pilot, a short distance up the Old Coach Road, and you may drive to about 200 metres from the summit.
Yeddonba, The Aboriginal Art Site
This is situated a short distance up Toveys Road.
MT PILOT LOOKOUT
The fire watch station located at the top of Mt Pilot.
Magnificent views from the top of Mt Pilot giving a 360 degree viewing of the local area. You may drive your car to within about 200 metres of the top.
This Aboriginal Art Site was re opened in October 1997 to showcase the artwork of the dominant indigenous clan of the area, the Duduroa. The clan, of around 2000 covered the area south of Wodonga, around Beechworth, and almost to Wangaratta. They were a sub-clan of the Goulbum Valley people, the Pangarang.
Mt Pilot was important to the Duduora, Pangarang, Quat Quatta and Minjambutta clans as a spiritual and ceremonial site. Springs located in the rock of the Mt Pilot lookout were an essential water source to these clans.
The artwork, thought to be over 2000 years old, is of a Thylacine or Tasmanian Tiger, a Goanna and a Snake. These three items represent totem spirits of the Duduroa.The site is well signposted and is in Toveys Forest Road which runs off the Beechworth to Chiltern Road about 12 Km from either town. This walk begins to the left of the picnic area towards the bracken. Follow the path the whole way. Use this map and the interpretive signs located along the walk as a guide to a better understanding of the indigenous way of life.
1 Spring 'Gna~IIeU'To the left, through the bracken, you can see open plains similar to the areas around Wodonga or Wangaratta. The Duduroa would move to the plains during Spring where they fed on fruits and vegetables found in the area and on birds breeding along the wetlands and creeks.
In the warmer months the Duduroa wore narrow strips of hide, suspended from the waist by a belt, and their shelter comprised of a framework of sticks covered in bark. Their movements were dictated by the four distinct seasons of the region until the arrival of the early settlers.2 Native Eucalyptus A variety of native eucalypts such as the Hill Red Gum, Grey Box, Red Box and Stringy Bark were used to make many Duduroa tools and weapons such as boomerangs, spears, and digging sticks. The Duduroa used hunting boomerangs to bring down an animal and ceremonial boomerangs as clap sticks.
The most frequently used weapon was the spear which could also be made from reed stems found along the Murray River. The spears were made of bone, volcanic glass or stone that had been traded from other clans.
The digging stick was a Duduroa womans most important tool used to reach fruit in the trees and to dig up roots and insects. It was also used as a fighting stick and to kill small animals. The stick was between 1 to 2 metres long and about 5 centimetres in diameter. They were custom made for each woman by her father or husband by feeding the branch slowly into hot ashes. This caused the sap to rise from the wood making it extremely durable.3 Rock Art Clan elders used this sacred site to pass on the Dreaming Story of the Tasmanian Tiger, the totem spirit of the Duduroa people. The images thought to be around 2000 years old are quite faded but cannot be repainted as there are no known descendants of the Duduroa alive today. It is thought the orange ochre used in the paintings was acquired from Aboriginal clans in South Australia through trade.
Above is a photo of the superb viewing platform at the rock art site and you can see two white message boards for you to read and understand what you are looking at.
One of the paintings is quite clearly a Tasmanian Tiger. How did the local Aboriginies paint a Tasmanian Native Animal?
Preserved Tasmanian Tiger on display Burke Museum
4 Winter 'Myer' As you walk uphill towards the cave you can see rocky outcrops similar to those the Duduroa used as shelter during winter. The second heavy rainfall towards the end of autumn signalled the time for the tribe to move to areas like this as there was a steady supply of water in the creeks. Kangaroo skins and possum fur cloaks were worn for warmth and their meat, along with vegetables, herbs and edible plants, provided an abundant food source. 5 Rock Cave This is where the Duduroa believe the spirit of the Tasmanian Tiger lives. They used the rock as an initiation site for the young men and women to connect with the spirit. Place your palm on the rock and close your' eyes. Can you feel the tiger's heart beating?
Above is a view looking out from the tiger's cave.
6 Lookout and Summer Locations From here you can see to the left the open plain areas the Duduroa inhabited during spring and to the right the river flats near Mungabarreena, Albury. During summer or Cotchi' an annual gathering of northeast clans occurred in Waradjeri territory at Mungabarreena. It attracted clans such as the Minjambutta, Pangarang, Quat Quatta, Yiatmathong, Dharra Dharra and the Duduroa. Ceremonies such as marriages, initiations, settling of disputes and renewing alliances and friendships all took place here. The final ceremony to occur was the receiving of permission to travel over the territory of the Yiatmathong, to begin the Bogong Moth Feast on the high plains of the alpine region of Victoria.
The view from the lookout with a message board explaining the scene.
7 Autumn Weeitt'Follow the path downhill and to the right towards the rocky shelter. This is similar to the journey the indigenous clans made during autumn.
As the weather turned cooler towards the end of February the Minjambutta, Pangarang, Quat Quatta, Yiatmathong and Dharra Dharra left the Alpine regions and travelled back to the river flats. As they made their way to the lowlands they set fire to many areas of the high plains to reduce the amount of fuel and regenerate the areas for the next year. This would force some animals to the foothills and provide a food supply for winter.
The Pangarang, Quat Ouatta and Minjambutta or Echidna clan used Mt Plot or Domma Munggee as a ceremonial area on their way to their own territories. After asking permission from the Duduroa they drank water from the springs and performed marriages and traded animal skins and stone weapons.
Food at this time included possums, wombats, kangaroos, birds, fish and turtles found along the Murray River. The second heavy rainfall towards the end of Autumn signalled the time for the tribe to move to the more sheltered Winter areas.
A photo of the many rock formations the path so carefully follows.
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