Lake Tyers State Park

Krauatungalung Country

Welcome to Lake Tyers State Park

Bung Yarnda (Lake Tyers) was an important meeting place for Gunaikurnai groups throughout the area. It was a neutral place that was rich in food and materials.

It is the place our mob lived when we were forcibly removed from our homelands by European settlers. The catchment area surrounding the Lake Tyers Aboriginal Trust is also very significant to us.

Our ancestors often passed through this bushland to get to and from Bung Yarnda, as we continue to do today. The catchment area is where a lot of our mob lived, camped and fished.

It is an abundant place providing us with food all year round. And it is a beautiful place — you can see why the old fellas went there. There are many recorded sites — scar trees, artefact scatters, birthing places and burial sites.

Lake Tyers State Park is one of the ten jointly managed parks and reserves within Gippsland. 
The Joint Management Agreement recognises the fact that the Gunaikurnai people hold Native Title and maintain a strong connection to Country. As custodians of the land, they are the rightful people who speak for their Country. 
These parks and reserves are cultural landscapes that continue to be part of Gunaikurnai living culture.

The Road To Recognition

The Lake Tyers Mission was first set up in 1861 as a reserve for the accommodation of Aboriginal people who had been forcibly removed from their families and homelands. It was part of the colonial government’s policy of the ‘protection of Aborigines’ and became home to Indigenous people from all over Victoria.

Unlike many other Aboriginal reserves, Lake Tyers Mission provided some freedom and independence for its Indigenous residents. The Aborigines Protection Board took over the management of Lake Tyers in 1908, and from the 1930s began to force people off the reserve. This process continued in the 1950s under the government’s assimilation policy.

The Bung Yarnda people fought to retain management of the land and control was handed over to the Lake Tyers Aboriginal Trust in 1971 under the newly established Aboriginal Lands Act. This was one of the first successful Aboriginal land rights claims in Australia’s history. Today the Lake Tyers Aboriginal Reserve is the private property of the Lake Tyers Aboriginal Trust.

Lake Tyers State Park and the Lake Tyers Trust land together form one of the most significant cultural and historic places in Victoria for Aboriginal people. The Mission site was chosen in part because it was known as a traditional Gunaikurnai gathering place, and it remains one of only two mission locations where Aboriginal people continue to live in the present.