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 South Australians are the first peoples of our State and have occupied, enjoyed and managed these lands and waters since the creation. For SA's First Peoples, 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.
Aboriginal peoples' oral histories and creation stories traverse the length and breadth of Australia’s lands and waters, including South Australian Parks. These stories interconnect land and waters with complex meaning and values and hold great cultural significance. We recognise and respect Aboriginal people's ownership of their stories and that they hold rights and obligations to care for Country. It is through these rights and cultural obligations and a shared goal to protect the environment for generations to come that DEWNR is committed to meaningful collaboration and involvement with Aboriginal peoples in the management of our shared parks.