Moyjil / Point Ritchie

Moyjil / Point Ritchie

About 35,000 years ago, a volcano (now known as Tower Hill) erupted, showering the surrounding land with ash, and subsequently over the millennia soil accumulated.

The Moyjil story

Point Ritchie is one of many significant Aboriginal sites across Victoria’s South West.

In particular it is evidence of human activity tens of thousands of years ago that has created considerable intrigue and academic interest in the site.

Deakin University’s John Sherwood explains:

“There are a number of shell deposits and old fireplaces from Aboriginal people that we know with some certainty go back beyond 35,000 years, in particular there is one shell deposit that could go back 80,000 years and if that’s the case it would be easily the oldest human site in Australia and would have significant implications for the migration of people across the planet.

“Modern humans evolved in African and it’s thought that something like 120,000 years ago to 80,000 years ago they began to migrate out of Africa and travel across Asia and to come to Australia they had to make a sea voyage and there has never been a time when sea level was so low  that you could have walked into South-east Asia. There was always a sea gap that had to be crossed by a boat of some type and  so the arrival of people in Australia marked the first known sea crossing by humans.

“They could have walked into Europe and they certainly could have walked into North America and then down to South America but to get to Australia you had to make a sea voyage. When that happened is a subject of intense debate and research. We are continually looking for sites in Australia that go back in time and push back that arrival date.”

 

Peek Whurrung Elder Robert Lowe Senior describes Point Ritchie-Moyjil and the Blue Hole …

“We used to come in and do a lot of fishing around that area, my uncle did, he was the only one who had a vehicle and he loved his fishing.”A lot of the time we would come down to the Blue Hole and fish around that area so my brother, most of the time when we were coming into to town to go fishing, that’s the area we would go, not realising it was as significant as it was at that stage. It was probably late ‘50s when my brother was working for the city council that we started to, or I started to, realise the importance of Point Ritchie, not to the full extent, but my brother showed me a few spots there, spoke about a few of the areas, pointed out a few of the midden sites that run through the area from Granny’s Grave. But only being young, I didn’t take it on board but never forgot it.”

“That site to me is a very special area.”

Peek Whurrung Elder Robert Lowe Senior explains that it was not only the sea that was a source of nutrition.

“The reefs were a very significant part of the culture and the food source sites for the old people and then if you continue on back towards Port Fairy you’ll find an abundance of food source sites, of midden sites, because of the reef structure. And it’s not only the sea food or the freshwater eels coming out at certain times of the year, it’s all because of the plant life too.

“So it’s a great, say, supermarket our old people knew and used to their advantage when they needed food. You take modern non-indigenous people or even indigenous people down there and a lot of them wouldn’t see that, what’s there and available for them to use on a daily basis.

“There’s quite an abundance of food in the dunes themselves without going into the sea for seafood – abalones and all that. There’s plant life there that tastes like walnuts, plant life that tastes like sweet lollipops. Brilliant! And this is what we learnt by wagging school, sitting down listening to my uncle and him showing us what’s available and what’s not available.

“You can eat a kangaroo apple but you’ve got to eat it at the right time of the season. Eat them at the wrong time of season and you mightn’t survive it because of the toxin in the kangaroo apple. But if you eat it when it’s in season you couldn’t wish for a better fruit.”

*People unfamiliar with bush foods should not taste or eat plants in the wild. Eating the wrong plants or eating some plants out of season can cause illness or death.

Information courtesy of: http://www.moyjil.com.au/where-point-ritchie and CSIRO – https://www.publish.csiro.au/RS/RS18003

Accommodation Nearby

Things To Do Nearby

Places To Eat & Drink

Ilma Cakes & Co.

Warrnambool

The Cally Hotel

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Bundys Bar and Bites

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Cafe Cycles Company

Warrnambool

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Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the Great Ocean Road region the Wadawurrung, Eastern Maar & Gunditjmara. We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging. We recognise and respect their unique cultural heritage and the connection to their traditional lands. We commit to building genuine and lasting partnerships that recognise, embrace and support the spirit of reconciliation, working towards self-determination, equity of outcomes and an equal voice for Australia’s first people.