Some more information on the Tarcombe Grinding Stones.
(Both posts may overlap a bit – Bert and I posted them simultaneously)
WARNING: When the Ruffy Weekend Walkers were invited to visit this site we were unaware of the correct protocols for visiting sites of cultural heritage significance in our area. We now know to notify the Taungurung Clan of our intention to visit and request a cultural heritage officer to accompany the group.
Contact: CEO, Taungurung Clans Aboriginal Corporation 13 Bourke Street, Kilmore 3674
The Tarcombe stone axe – grinding grooves are a series of oval shaped indentations in clusters of two to five across a flat, fine grained granite slab along the edge of a local creek. Aboriginal people used these axe- grinding grooves to finish partly made axes, (known as axe blanks) or to sharpen axes that were worn or chipped.
Axe blanks were harder pieces of stone that the Taungurung people chipped into basic axe shapes at their stone quarries. Greenstone, a volcanic rock from the Cambrian age, is tough, fine- gained, shock resistant and fractures predictably, making it an ideal raw material for the manufacture of heavy duty stone axes.
It was highly valued as were the axes made from it.
The nearest greenstone outcrops are at Mount William near Lancefield and in the Howqua River valley where there are at least two quarry sites for greenstone which the Taungurung traded with other tribes.
Mount William was the major quarry in Victoria and a vast trading network developed from this site. (More than half the axes were carried over 100 kilometres away from the quarry and 29% traveled more than 300 kms )
The aboriginal people sharpened the stone axe blanks by rubbing the edges over the finely grained granite or sandstone. This rubbing action left the grooves. Water was sprinkled into the grooves to make them more abrasive and to reduce dust. This is why the grooves are usually found close to water.
The Tarcombe site was discovered by Taungurang clan member, Shane Monk while spraying blackberries last year. Archeologists from Aboriginal Affairs Victoria have mapped and recorded this site. Grinding grooves are rare and this newly discovered site is considered to be the third most significant in Victoria.
Last month, the Ruffy Weekend Walkers were lucky enough to be given a tour of the site by the landholder.
* Please note that this site is on private property and is of cultural significance to the Tuangurung people.