The Dja Dja Wurrung (Djarra) People lived on Country in the Bendigo region of central Victoria. They were highly resourceful people. There were many places on Country (Djandak) that Djaara People could access the raw materials to make stone tools for hunting, gathering, food preparation, ceremony, and for medicinal purposes. The raw materials came from stone quarries located on Country or through trade with other clans and tribes.
The gold rush
The massive influx of European settlers to Dja Dja Wurrung Country during the gold rush saw access to many of these stone resources denied to Djaara People. Traditional quarry sites became enclosed in pastoral runs and the veins of quartz common to the area became targets for gold prospectors. But the Djaara People who remained in the area quickly realised that the glass bottles and ceramics discarded around the mining sites provided an excellent substitute.
Glass was highly favoured. Similar to quartz it could be worked into flakes, blades, scrapers and points that were very sharp. The thick bases of the glass bottles were especially useful for the amount of workable material they contained.
The glass artefacts displayed here come from a variety of places on Dja Dja Wurrung Country. Their locations are reflective of trading routes and areas used by both settlers and Djaara People. They represent a significant exchange across the culture of the goldfields – a culture that has existed in Central Victoria for over 30,000 years.
Text supplied by the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation