At the time of European arrival, the Ngaiawang Aboriginal People occupied an area of approximately 388,000 hectares on the Western Murray Plains, in which the park is situated. Within this area, the river was the main focus of activity, providing a permanent water source and a continuous food supply. Fish were caught in nets and stone traps, one of which is still preserved in the northern end of McBeans Pound. The river was also a major communication and transport route. Bark canoes were obtained from large river red gums, and several of these canoe trees can still be seen near Blanchetown. The river became the nucleus of settlement as it provided for most needs.
Please refer to the South Australian Museum publication Ngaiawang Folk Province (1977) for further information on the Ngaiawang People.
Aboriginal peoples have occupied, enjoyed and managed the lands and waters of this State for thousands of generations. For Aboriginal first nations, creation ancestors laid down the laws of the Country and bestowed a range of customary rights and obligations to the many Aboriginal Nations across our state.
There are many places across the State that have great spiritual significance to Aboriginal first nations. At some of these places Aboriginal cultural protocols, such as restricted access, are promoted and visitors are asked to respect the wishes of Traditional Owners.
In places where protocols are not promoted visitors are asked to show respect by not touching or removing anything, and make sure you take all your rubbish with you when you leave.
Aboriginal peoples continue to play an active role in caring for their Country, including in parks across South Australia.