New Guinea Caves

Krauatungalung Country

Welcome to New Guinea Caves

New Guinea Caves is a rare cultural site and one of the oldest inhabited caves in the world. Our old people used to camp in this refuge on the way to and from the high country, when they followed food and temperate weather in their seasonal migrations. There was always a good supply of water from the Snowy River and an abundant source of food and other natural materials.

Because of the good supply and quality of rocks, the area was an important stone tool manufacturing and repair site. People like the idea of visiting this interesting and challenging place, but this is causing significant damage to the site — through erosion of the roads and the theft of cultural artefacts.

The cultural importance of the New Guinea Caves area for the Gunaikurnai is not limited to the physical cave structures and artefacts; it also resides in the significance of the surrounding land as a place of resort and shelter during travels and movements along the Snowy River Valley.

New Guinea Caves 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.

Connecting to Country

Archaeological investigations of Cave II between 1980 and 1985 by several Victorian archaeological institutions identified and recorded a number of stone artefacts and cultural material. These investigations established a date of occupation
extending back almost 21,000 years to the Pleistocene epoch. Significantly, the investigation found bone artefacts including skeletal remains of Tasmanian Tigers, Tasmanian Devils, Quolls and other species.

Large pits dug during the 1980s excavations in New Guinea Cave II created major impacts in the cave and were not re-­instated. Some cultural material was removed for archaeological analysis of the assemblage.

Cultural mapping, three dimensional cave modelling and geotechnical assessments of New Guinea Cave II will further clarify the extent of cultural heritage. The cultural mapping project will consider the potential repatriation of previously excavated cultural material.