By Christine Adams, Graduate Diploma in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage Management student.
I am currently undertaking a Directed Study in Archaeology as part of my Graduate Diploma of Archaeology and Cultural Heritage Management. My industry partner is Kylie Lower of Blackwood Heritage Consulting. The project is to perform a desktop study of the Wirrabara and Bundaleer Forests in the southern Flinders Ranges, South Australia, which were burnt during a recent bushfire. A desktop study means researching a site through journal articles and other materials, including websites and books. This project will also involve conducting oral history interviews with one of the local Indigenous groups– the Nukunu—and using ArcGIS software to map the forests.
My first task is to write a cultural and environmental background for the area. Besides the area now covered by the Bundaleer and Wirrabara Forests, the Nukunu also inhabit other areas, including Port Pirie, Mount Remarkable and Port Augusta. The Bundaleer Forest was the first forest planted in Australia in 1875. The Wirrabara Forest was planted shortly after in 1877. The planting of the Wirrabara Forest was on the White family’s land, which they had inhabited since 1844. Not surprisingly, its original name was White’s Forest. These plantations were used for logging. Known historic sites in Bundaleer Forest include the cottage of the first nurseryman, William Curnow, the conservator’s hut and the first forestry office.
As loggers’ families lived near the Wirrabara forest, the first provisional school was established there in 1881. This building was also used for church services and became the community’s centre. I look forward to learning more about these places.
Forestry South Australia n.d. Wirrabara Forest Visitor Information. Accessed 17 Mar 2017 from
Sizer, H. 1974 Yet Still They Live: Wirrabara’s Story. Location unknown: Lutheran Publishing House.