The cool granite outcrops provided shelter and semi permanent watering holes for the Dja Dja Wurrung Aboriginal people and associated clans of central Victoria. The plants and animals of the area provided food and there are curving scars on a number of old Grey Box trees where they were cut to make canoes, shields, carrying bowls and material to provide shelter. An Aboriginal skeleton found in the park during gravel extraction operations has been dated at five and a half thousand years old.
The area now occupied by Terrick Terrick National Park was at the boundary of Dja Dja Wurrung and Barabaraba aboriginal groups. The clan Terrick lived in the area. John Terrick was one of the last full-blood aboriginals. He died at Correnderrk settlement in 1921.
Major Sir Thomas Mitchell climbed Pyramid Hill, 11km north of the park, in the winter of 1836 and was very impressed with the surrounding countryside. His reports encouraged squatters to the area who soon realised that the lack of permanent water did not preclude successful stocking in winter. Squatters took up selections in the mid nineteenth century. Early runs included Terrick Terrick, Terrick East, Terrick West, Serpentine, Pine Grove, Tandarra, Mt Hope and Serpentine, names still used for the districts today. One local homestead, Prairie Park, was built about 1874 by Austin Mack and has been fully restored. Like most station homesteads, it was built close to Bendigo Creek. Unfortunately Prairie Park and other homesteads have therefore suffered from flooding. Closer settlement began in the early 1870s. Folk could select 320 acres. The forested area was larger in area than it is today and had no roads through it. The township of Mitiamo was established alongside Bendigo Creek (then called Piccaninny Creek) to the eastof its present location. That site was abandoned when the railway was constructed, and some buildings were moved to the township’s present location. Several hotels were established along roads to cater for thirsty horses and thirsty travellers.
The Davies family
Thomas Davies arrived as an unassisted passenger with his wife Elizabeth & son Edwin from Wales. He selected land south of the Terrick Terrick township and, in April 1873 arrived after a 2 month journey from Ballarat where he had been mining. Thomas built a log hut of four rooms for his family. He opened a store and hotel in 1873. After the Terrick Terrick school closed, he moved to Bendigo to educate his family, returning when the Sylvatere school opened in 1913. It was then that the present house, now in a state of disrepair and inhabited by termites, was built. When the last member of the family (Ms Dorothy Davies) left the house, the 1,277ha grazing property was sold to become part of Terrick Terrick National Park. Ms Davies was well enough to attend the opening of the national park but passed away a few weeks later.
Farming systems dramatically changed the dynamics of the pre-European grassland community. After 10 years as a State Park, Terrick Terrick was declared a National Park in 1998 - the first National Park in Australia's Riverina bioregion. The park was further expanded in October 2002 to conserve and enhance what remains of the remaining Box & Ironbark forests and woodlands in Victoria.
Terrick Terrick preservation past and present
Farmers in the surrounding area have fought to keep the forest intact on at least two occasions. In 1890s when settlers’ families were beginning to look for more land there were rumblings about clearing some of it and a big public meeting decided to keep the forest as it was and again after WW1 there was talk of soldier settlement blocks. At a public meeting Will Hopper moved, seconded by Sam Davies, that the forest be kept as is. Since closer settlement in the 1870s, the forest has been maintained and farmed for the use of farmers... (Murray Pine was used for fencing, water tank stands and buildings). The big plus about the Murray Pine is that white ants do not touch it.
Recently the Loddon Plains GOANNA Project has offered assistance in the creation of a bushland link between the Terricks and Gunbower Island forests via Kow Swamp, with a branch to Timms Lake. Although much of the land involved is public land along Bendigo Creek, a considerable amount of private freehold would also be involved. So the cooperation and support of those owning land along the proposed link is being sought. Without their support, the linkage is not likely to be possible. If funding is obtained and the scheme proceeds, it is likely that soil-preparation, fencing and direct seeding will be carried out by contractors.
Enjoying the park
A picnic area is nestled at the base of Mount Terrick Terrick and is an ideal spot to start exploring the park. Picnic tables, toilets and park information are provided. Camping is permitted only in this to protect the parks fragile vegetation. The park provides a basic bush-camping experience. Campers are advised to bring their own water, as well as a gas stove for cooking. Please notify the Ranger at Kerang of your camping stay.
A short steep walk to the pinnacle of Mount Terrick Terrick will reward you with spectacular views of the entire park and surrounding area. Keen nature lovers can discover many of the beautiful plants and animals of the area on short or even whole-day walks through the park.
A scenic drive along the tracks will ensure that you see the very best the park has to offer such as grasslands, granite outcrops, woodlands and historical farming sites. Spring is an ideal time to see the wonderfully diverse and colourful display of wildflowers of the native grasslands. The historic homestead and associated grasslands can be accessed via Mitiamo-Kow Swamp Road.
Several geocaches can be found in the area, both on the walk to the pinnacle, and trig points on the pinnacle and Sylvaterre area. Further geocaches can be found in the nearby towns of Mitiamo and Pyramid Hill, as well as on Pyramid Hill, Mt Hope and Kow Swamp.
T is for Terrick comprises a series of 40 caches of micro to regular size hidden along the roadside. It is designed to be completed from 1-40. Each cache has a laminated hint for the bonus word search puzzle. Complete the puzzle and the remaining letters will reveal the coordinates of the final cache http://coord.info/GC488K8. Please record hint and place back inside of cache for next finder.
Please park well off the roadside and watch the youngsters, as well as the possibility of snakes. Some caches are too small for a pen, so BYO.