Indigenous history in the Strathbogies is very poorly understood. Many locals have found ‘stone tools’ and other artifacts on their properties and scar-trees occur down on the plains.
Recently, an unusual looking stone (left) was found in a Boho South wetland (spring-soak, or bog); a stone whose colour and texture were completely different to the local rocks and stones. And the surface of the stone had multiple chipped faces, as well as a very smooth, rounded edge. After a bit of inquiring, it seems this is no ordinary stone, rather its a very hard metamorphic stone known as Mt William Greenstone – a very characteristic type of rock that can only have come from one place, Mt William, near Lancefield. The Mt William quarry is known to have been used by the Wurundjeri for about 1,500 years to make stone hatchets.
So useful was this material, that rocks from Mt William were traded all over south-eastern Australia and presumably that’s how this piece found its way up into the Strathbogie hills, over 100 km from where it was originally mined.
[Note: you know what they say about a little bit of knowledge, well that’s what I had. See comment below.]
View the slide show for all the pics.
I’ve had some recent feedback that questions whether this artefact is, in fact, Greenstone. I’d be keen to get a definitive professional opinion. Anyone offering?
Some pertinent comments from Gaye Sutherland from the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority: “There is also a Greenstone Quarry on the Howqua River and Greenstone is also found at Mt Samaria (near Lake Nillacootie). Although trading is known to occur from Mt William Quarry the presence of other sources of greenstone should not be (under)estimated, particularly given their closer proximity to Boho South.
“Whilst some work has been done using geochemical analyses on greenstone to match artifact with quarry source (McBryde 1979), conclusion on origin by visual analysis alone is difficult due to the similarities in the parent material at the various Greenstone sites across Victoria.” Thanks Gaye. It would indeed be interesting to know where this Greenstone artifact was quarried and perhaps get a better understanding of trading by the Taungurung of the Strathbogies.