Ceccanti Kiewa Valley Wines
285 Bay Creek La Mongans Bridge VIC 3691
(03) 5754 5236
This impressive mountain towers above the Valley of the Kiewa River and was of great significance to local traditional owner groups. As noted by Parks Victoria, “Many Aboriginal people have a remarkably rich history of Aboriginal use in the Victorian Alps and a vast knowledge of the cultural sites, oral history and ancestral stories that relate to the alpine region of Victoria. Throughout the many seasons each year, Aboriginal groups would come from as far away as the coast and south west slopes, to meet with the tribes of the mountains for intertribal ceremonies and feasting on Bogong Moths. During these festivities they would exchange cultural objects and materials for tools”.
According to Indigenous historian Eddie Kneebone, “the Yiatmathong (people) controlled the Kiewa and Mitta Mitta Valleys, they also had control of the Alpine region on the Victorian side. Their southern most boundary extended to Hotham and ran along the highest ridge line of the Alps in an east-west direction. Because Mount Bogong fell within the Yiatmathong territory, permission had to be gained from them by the other tribes participating in the summer feast. Once this was done, the tribes would spend summer in the cooler climate of the mountains feasting on the protein rich Bogong moth”.(‘’,)
According to Kneebone, prior to climbing Mount Bogong and the Bogong High Plains, the tribes would gather by the Murray River at Mungabarreena (near modern Albury). After ceremonies, initiations, marriages, trading, settling of disputes, and renewing of alliances and friendships, the groups would walk from Albury to the mountain region to feed on the protein-rich Bogong Moths.
Following European settlement, Indigenous groups were decimated and survivors were placed onto settlements, often far from the traditional lands. Indigenous visitation to Mount Bogong is generally understood to have finished by the mid 19th century. While there was cattle grazing for some time, it was the walkers and then skiers who became the next group to visit the mountain in large numbers.
In August 1936 Mick Hull, Howard Michell and Cleve Cole attempted the first winter crossing of the Bogong High Plains. The group became lost in blizzard conditions and Cole died of hypothermia soon after he and Mick Hull were discovered by a rescue party raised by Michell. Cole was buried on 22 August at the Cheltenham Pioneer Cemetery. The hut commemorating Cole’s life was completed in 1938, and has served as the hub of back-country skiing and bushwalking exploration of the Bogong area since. Accommodation at the hut is free on a first-in-first-served basis, although donations to The Bogong Club are welcomed.Parks Victoria advises skiers and walkers to carry an alpine-capable tent, and not to rely on accommodation in the huts.
Cole’s death illustrates the danger of Mount Bogong and of the Victorian Alps in general. The mountains are geologically old and worn. Their low altitude and flattish, rounded tops make for easy skiing and walking, but descent of their steep sides in whiteout conditions can be perilous.