It’s estimated that the indigenous Koori people lived in the area known to them as Gariwerd up to twenty thousand years ago. The area offered such rich food sources that the Kooris didn’t have to spend all their time hunting and food-gathering, and could therefore devote themselves to religious and cultural activities. Evidence of this survives in rock paintings, which are executed in a linear style, usually in a single colour (either red or white), but sometimes done by handprints or stencils. You can visit some of the rock shelters where Aboriginal people camped and painted on the sandstone walls, although many more are off limits for cultural reasons. In the northern Grampians one of the best is Gulgurn Manja, 5km south of the Western Highway. Starting at the Hollow Mountain car park, the signposted fifteen-minute walk will take you to this important site. The name means “hands of young people”, as many of the handprints here were done by children. In the southern Grampians is Billimina, a fifteen-minute walk above the Buandik campsite; it’s an impressive rock overhang with clearly discernible, quite animated, red stick figures.

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