Buchan Caves Reserve is one of the jointly managed parks within Gippsland. The Joint Management agreement recognises the fact that the Gunaikurnai people hold Aboriginal 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. For more information on Joint Management, please visit the Gunaikurnai Traditional Owner Land Management Board and the Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation.
Buchan Caves Reserve on Krauatungalung Country, is highly significant to Gunaikurnai Traditional Owners due to its remarkable Aboriginal cultural heritage.
Buchan Munji, the Buchan Caves area, was traditionally an important meeting place for Gunaikurnai people. The area connects to the high country and was a place of refuge during the seasonal migrations to and from the mountains, where our mob would go to chase the Bogong Moth and other food sources.
Although the Gunaikurnai people did not venture far beyond the cave entrances (caves were places thought to be inhabited by wicked creatures such as the Nargun and the Nyols) the caves are of high spiritual significance, which has been maintained through traditional stories. There is evidence going back more than 18000 years of the important role that the caves played in the lives of our old people, including burials in the caves and ceremonial rings all through the Buchan area.
Archaeological evidence of Gunaikurnai use of the area remain in and around cave entrance, along the Spring Creek valley and in artefact scatters throughout the reserve. Gunaikurnai oral history holds that Frank Moon’s party, which made the first documented exploration of the caves was guided by local Gunaikurnai people, who were not acknowledged. Today the caves remain important to Gunaikurnai as a meeting place with spiritual significance that holds important stories to be shared with young people.