illstration giants page 1  header

GONDWANAN DAWNING

Tap  images to zoom.

Gondwana Time Line
Many parts of the world have had major cultural and geophysical change over time but the Valley of the Giants has been relatively stable and therefore still has relics with links to GONDWANALAND: a land mass formed some 500 million years ago (Ma) when, through earth's plate tectonics, Australia, Antarctica, New Zealand, Africa, India and South America formed into one supercontinent.
Gondwanaland map
Image with thanks to:  PALEOMAP Project
Globally there are 14 large and about 40 small drifting tectonic plates. Australia sits on its own distinct plate that has migrated more than 3000 km north-northeast at a rate of 6-7 cm per year, making it the fastest moving continent; and it continues to drift today.
Map Australia geological ages
Valley of the Giants
sedimentary rock is of the
Archean Epoch (4000-2500 Ma).
Readers Digest Atlas 1962.
Sedimentary rocks of the Valley of the Giants and surrounding area are the oldest in the world dating back to the Archean epoch on the geological time scale (4000-2500 million years ago).
Flora and fauna is more recent: Gondwanan links (Jurassic period: 201-145 Ma) found in the Valley of the Giants include: the Tassel Flower (Leucopogon verticillatus) and the Tingle Trapdoor Spider (Bertmainius tingle).
Tasel flower and Tingle spider
The tassel flower is abundant in the area today, growing in the understorey of the tall trees. It is often found with Sword grass (Lepidosperma effusum) and the two were an inspiration for the design of the pylon platforms and trusses of the Tree Top Walk (see page 3: Tree Top Walk). Susan and Keith Hall wrote (4 September 2015) an article  Gondwana Origins published in the On The Road magazine. The story of the now endangered  Tingle Spider has been written by Mark Harvey and published in Landsope.
Tingle Tree
The final separation from Gondwana about 34 Ma saw the emergence of our island continent Australia, and marks a significant point in the evolutionary path of our geology and landscape and of our distinctive flora and fauna ( Geoscience Australia 2012).
For millions of years the South West and the Valley of the Giants block within it was set apart from the rest of the world by sea and desert. It contained a rich diversity of flora and fauna which overtime evolved with a uniqueness and distinction evident today.
Three species of the giant Tingle trees only grow within a 10 kilometre radius of Walpole: the red tingle (Eucalyptus jacksonii), the yellow tingle (E. guilfoylei) and the Rates tingle (E. brevisylis) . These massive trees amid Karri trees (as tall as 90 metres) are the source of the name: Valley of the Giants. The red tingle is the star of the show: it can grow to 70 metres in height and can have a circumference of 20 metres. Their spreading buttressed trunks are often hollowed out by repeated fire and some ancient giants in the Valley cling to life through only a few remaining sections of living bark at their base, which somehow support the height and weight if the tree [1] . Parks and Wildlife fact sheet  The tingle forest has more information.
The Gondwanan dawning of the Valley of the Giants takes us back to an epoch before the continent island Australia existed. It provides exceptional historic value for the Giants block and enhances its richness for conservation and for encouragement of people to connect with it in an environmentally safe manner.

THE DREAMING

Aboriginal Australians are one of the oldest living distinct populations in the world, certainly the oldest outside of Africa. First Nations Aboriginal people probably arrived in the Valley of the Giants some 40,000 years ago.
Relics of fish trap Albany
Relics of a previous era. Photo: W.A. Museum
There is evidence that Aboriginal people have lived in South-West Australia for over 48,000 years: one of the oldest surviving cultural identities in the world today. Relics such as lizard traps and fish traps in the Albany region indicate Aboriginal people in the Valley of the Giants area for at least the past 6000 years: probably a lot longer.
In the material sense: life was simple and Aboriginal people developed a way of life in perfect harmony with their environment and a rich culture including Dreamtime stories of creation, custom and country passed on through sacred dance (Noongar: koroboree/kobori), song and story. Aborigines have a close relationship with land and their identity is both embodied in, and derived from, the places to which they are connected.
Map Noongar Clans
Map showing the Menang Noongar clan area.
Minang (here) is an alternative spelling.
 Source: Noongar Boodjar Language Cultural Aboriginal Corporation.
South-west Aboriginal people are Noongar: with a distinctive language and custom. Noongar people have clans including the Menang Noongar whose traditional land extends from the Shannon River in the west to the Stirling Range and Pallinup River and in the north and east. This area includes the Valley of the Giants and we respectfully acknowledge the traditional owners: the Menang Noongar people and pay respect to their Elders past and present.
Especially when considered along with rocks dating back to the Archean epoch (4,000 to 2,500 million years ago: when the Earth's crust had cooled enough for continents to form and for the earliest known life to start) and Gondwanan flora and fauna; this amazing Aboriginal record can envisage the Menang Noongar people passing through the Valley of the Giants sustaining a wonderfully ancient, unique habitat with an astonishing history.

SEAFARERS AND EXPLORERS

STS Leeuwin
Sail Training Ship Leeuwin, WA
designed in an 1850’s barquentine style
 Leeuwin Ocean Adventure Foundadtion
The Menang Noongar people had observed tall sailing ships venturing along the coast south of the Valley of the Giants.
In March 1622, the tall sailing ship Leeuwin (Dutch for “Lioness”) sailed past Point D’Entrecasteaux (west of the Valley of the Giants) and mapped some of this south-west corner.
New Holland Map 1644
A 1644 New Holland map (public domain) showing
t Landt van Pieter Nuyts (Pieter Nuyts' Land)
On January 26 1627, the Gulden Zeepaard (Golden Seahorse) commanded by Francois Thyssen sailed east past Point D’Entrecasteaux and charted 1,600 km of the South Coast south of the Valley of the Giants. Subsequently, charts of this area  show the southern coastland as “t Land van P Nuyts” (or Nuytsland) named after a high ranking company official, Pieter Nuyts, on board the ship. The Nuyts Wilderness (close to the Valley of the Giants) is named after him:  DBCA fact sheet Nuyts Wilderness.
In their book: In Praise of an National Park, Lee and Geoff Fernie observe (p1): 160 years later, on Boxing Day 1787, the first fleet heaved and rolled eastwards below the 40th parallel, due south of point D’Entrecasteaux, carrying 700 convicts out of Portsmouth bound for Botany Bay on one of the great sea voyages of English history”.
Even as the First Fleet sailed by out of sight, Menang Noongar people had been observing in wonderment as other tall ships sailed by. Some came to shore and white people piled out to venture inland.
Albany explorers 1991 stamp
Australia Post stamp issued
25 September 1991
commemorating voyage
George Vancouver 1791 and
1400 km land exploration
Edward John Eyre
and Wylie 1841.
Captain George Vancouver,  sailed along and charted much of the southern coast of Western Australia in 1791 and explored King George Sound.
A French exploration party led by Bruny D’Entrecasteaux in 1792 came within view of the southern coastline of Western Australia in 1792. The D’Entrecasteaux National Park is a component of the Walpole Wilderness  DBCA information: D'Entrecasteaux National Park.
Mokare statue Alison Hartman gardens, Albany
Menang Noongar man Mokare
Alison Hartman Gardens/Mokare Park
York Street, Albany.
Matthew Flinders replenished ships in King George Sound in 1801 and Louis de Freycinet explored the area in 1821; by this time many ships, including sealers and whalers, where calling into King George Sound for replenishment.
On 25 December 1826, Major Edmund Lockyer and a detachment of soldiers arrived at King George Sound (Albany) where Lockyer was to establish a settlement primarily to prevent French explorers from laying claim to the area. The penal settlement was abandoned in 1831 and the town of Albany (after the Duke of York) established as part of the Swan River Colony established in Perth in 1829.
The Menang Noongar people were initially friendly to the white seafarers and explorers: even as they assumed to possess and control the land. The Art Gallery of Western Australia has in its collection  a portrait of Menang Elder: Mokaré drawn in July 1826 by Louis de Sainson aboard the sailing ship L’Astrolabe. The French officers, as others after them, were taken by his joyous outgoing personality. [2]
Dale 1832_panpramic view king george sound
King George Sound; hand coloured panorama on 8 joined panels; Lieutenant Robert Dale 1832.
 Source: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, England (Caird Collection).
This panoramic view of King George Sound (National Maritime Museum Museum London) based on drawings by Lieutenant Robert Dale from the summit of Mount Clarence in 1832, shows Menang Noongar people in friendly interaction with British soldiers, most likely 63rd Regiment of Foot to which the artist was attached on surveying duties.
However all may not have been as amicable as it seems in Dale’s panorama. There was widespread conflict. In July 1833 Whadjuk (also Wajuk) Noongar man Yagan (who had had attacked and killed a number of settlers during resistance to the British colonisation and declared an outlaw with a £30 bounty on his head) was shot by two teenage brothers on the Upper Swan and his head cut-off to claim the reward.
The  National Maritime Museum description of the panorama continues: In 1833, Dale brought Yagan’s severed head back to London, where the surgeon and antiquarian Thomas Pettigrew, an expert on Egyptian mummies, displayed it at parties and encouraged guests to buy Dale’s printed panorama as a souvenir. Yagan's head was eventually buried at Everton Cemetery in Liverpool. However, following a campaign by the Noongar of Western Australia, Yagan's remains were repatriated in 1997 and buried accpording to local tradition.[3]
By today's standards the colony’s response to resistance (of all type) is despotic; including stolen children practices leading to the breakdown of Aboriginal society which perhaps began to recover on 27 May 1967 when Australia resoundingly (all States and 90.77% overall) voted to change the Constitution so that Aboriginal people could be officially recognised and the Commonwealth enabled to legislate for them.
Today, Aboriginal people, especially those of Menang Noongar Country are intrinsically part of the Valley of the Giants.

  1. [1]: Rob Oliver, The South West: From dawn till dusk, UWA Press, 2002.
  2. [2]: W C Ferguson, Mokaré’s Domain, Australians, Fairfax, Syme & Weldon Associates, 1988.
  3. [3]: National Maritime Museum England, Caird Library and Archive, Description of Panoramic View of King George Sound, Dale 1834

facebook logo

The Society is continually revising this website. –Come back again!

  Website:
  • WNDHS Curator of IT, Media
  •  admin@wndhs.org.au
  •   Last revision: 11 July 2022