The You Yangs, or Youang in language, is a very important place for Wadawurrung people. If you’re lucky, you might see Bundjil the Wedge-tailed Eagle soaring through the sky, keeping watch over the beautiful granite peaks in the middle of the plains. The You Yangs is a place where visitors can stop and appreciate culture and sustainability, as well as see an example of a special place that humans have long held a connection to.
Up on Big Rock, you will notice that there are no nearby fresh water sources. That’s where rockwells come in. Rockwells are holes that are carved out of rock to form a well to collect and store water. At Big Rock, you can discover some of these rockwells, which often have water in them throughout the year. In the past, a rock was placed over the biggest well to keep the drinking water fresh and protect it from nearby animals. When they’re dry, rockwells can even be used to store grains and seeds.
What can you do at Youang?
Download the Wadawurrung Language – Introduction app before you leave home. When you arrive, walk 100 metres from the Big Rock carpark up onto Big Rock, where you can admire beautiful views across surrounding Country. Use the app and see if you can spot any birds or plants that are listed on it. How do you say their names in Wadawurrung language? Take a moment to look across the landscape and imagine how it has changed over time.
What interesting landmarks can you spot from where you’re standing on Big Rock? If you look closely, you should be able to find the sea at Barwon Heads to the south.
See if you can find the large, ancient rock well on Big Rock. Wadawurrung people relied on this well for fresh water – in what ways are you and your family reliant on the environment for natural things like water? Once you find the large rock well, can you see any other smaller ones nearby?
If you’re after more of a challenge, hike the 3-km Big Rock Walk from the park office carpark. This will take you around Big Rock and then back to the same carpark. There are also plenty of other walking and mountain bike riding trails. What did you discover during your time in the park? What native animals and plants did you see?
Remember to always follow the Junior Ranger Way when you’re out and about. Help us keep this special park healthy by only leaving footprints and taking only photographs and memories.