THE BUNDIAN WAY HERITAGE
PROPOSED FOR HERITAGE LISTING
Bundian Way is a pathway that is possibly
more than 40,000 years old,
certainly far older than the Pyramids or the Silk Road. In
December 2012 it was entered on the
NSW State Heritage
Register, both for its
Aboriginal and European and shared heritage values.
When the European
pioneers arrived in the SE region of Australia they found the mountainous country a
barrier to settlement. Produce of the Monaro, for example, was too difficult
to get to market without access to the port in Eden. When travelling and
sending freight by sea was the best option, the nearest harbour in Eden
could not service the settlers.
The old Aboriginal clans
of the region came to the rescue and showed the settlers the way to go. They
could follow the pathways that had been used for thousands of years. These
became the first roads.
Not only did the
Aboriginal people show the settlers how best to get between the coast and
the Monaro, they also showed them how to get to Gippsland which was
unsettled at the time.
Now, one of the ways
used to walk between Twofold Bay and the Snowy Mountains has been nominated
by the Eden Local Aboriginal Lands Council for recognition as a significant
part of the Australian and NSW Heritage.
Used with permission Mitchell
Library, State Library of NSW – A 535
ease. This princely inhabitant of Bundyang wearing a possum skin cloak was
drawn by OW Brierly in about 1843.
The Bundian Way
is a descriptive name as it goes by way of the Bundian
Pass, which was the easiest walking route from the tablelands to the coastal
plains. It skirts Bondi Creek, the old Bondi Station and the district
referred to by names spelt
in various ways, such as Bundyang, Boondyang,
Bondia in early accounts. W.B. Clarke described it during his
explorations of the Monaro in 1851. G.A. Robinson in his journeys of 1844
refers to the grassy hills or downs of the south-eastern Monaro and says, in
his very own phonetic way, 'the tribe is called Pundeang mittong,
Bungunggarley alias John Gow is a native of this place at Pundang.'
follows wild country and local roads and tracks. One spur continues on to
Omeo and Gippsland or to the western plains via the Omeo gap.
Much of the landscape is
extremely rugged and it includes the much-mythologised Man from the Snowy
River country. Its very wildness made the pathways all the more important
before any roads were developed. It is well recorded how Aborigines showed
the way first, and subsequent use resulted in exploration and development of
places like Gippsland in the earliest days by Macalister, McMillan, highland
Scots shepherds, and the horsemen and cattlemen who followed; some who noted
and followed the pathways included Lhotsky, Brodribb, Lingard, Ryrie, Lambie,
A.W. Howitt, W.B. Clarke, von Mueller, Oswald Brierly, G.A. Robinson and
an ancient pathway it was one of the remarkable trade and cultural routes of
Australia, not only connecting the moth sites of the high country with the
whale places on the coast but also Gippslamd and the western districts of
Victoria and beyond via the Omeo Gap. . It predated the Silk Road, the Roman
roads and other great roads of world antiquity. In its practical role it
connected Aboriginal people and their kinship and landscapes, their special
places and ceremonies.
But today it has a
symbolic role that demonstrates the Aboriginal people’s deep connections
with their much-varied environment and how, in an ever-changing world, some
You can still walk all
the way along it, mostly through wild country or minor country roads, from
the highest part of the continent to the coast. Many traces still remain in
the present day.