OASIS ANU TA
The property contains extensive Aboriginal sites and artefacts, including several ceremonial sites once used by the Wathaurong people. This is documented in a report by the Victorian Archaeological Survey in which they state … "The archaeological sites located on Oasis are representative of the types of Aboriginal sites that would be expected to occur in the region. From an archaeological perspective the sites located are significant for a number of reasons. The educational value of the sites is high particularly when viewed as a complex of sites representing the remains of a range of past activities by the groups of Aboriginal people who lived in the region. The relatively high number of sites located within a confined and easily accessed area provide an ideal opportunity to be used as examples for illustrating the nature of past Aboriginal occupation in the area."
The land which is now Oasis Anu Ta, and surrounding district south of the Werribee River, was home to a small tribal group of 20-25 people. The land was special to them because of the ceremonial sites it contained. Centrally located in the property is a scarred tree which marks the centre of a men’s corroboree site. This was exclusive to the men, and they would meet there to confer about their hunting and other activities, and to conduct ceremonial dances. Another site on the river flats is marked by a circle of large rocks, and it was used by men and women ceremonially only during full moon. The men were the hunters, and the women gathered roots and berries, and were in charge of the healing skills. A women’s site is located further upstream, which was where they conducted their women’s business. The group would remain in one place for a few weeks, and then move on, ensuring that they did not excessively exploit the gift’s of the Earth Mother in any place they resided. That way there was always abundance.
There are now few, if any, living descendants of the Wathaurong people. There is a shameful history of genocide in the area, for they are known to have been hunted like animals by some of the early white settlers. Introduced diseases also took a heavy toll. One Aboriginal man who I came to know quite well was Adrian Jackson, who was chairman of the Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative when I met him in 1992. Adrian told me that his grandmother was a tribal woman and that she had taught him the culture when he was a child. He experienced many signs when he visited Oasis, including a hawk that always greeted him and guided him to certain sites. He and others experienced shaking in the legs when they stood in certain places. Wathaurong determined to buy the property, but were refused funding by the government of the time.
For those who are interested in geomancy, Oasis Anu Ta lies at the intersection point of seven ley lines. It also lies at the centre of a gigantic cross defined in the landscape by four surrounding mountains which form the pattern of the major stars of the Southern Cross constellation. The fifth star point is located at Cobbledick’s Ford. I doubt if the Aboriginals knew of the configuration, but I am certain that those mountains would have been sacred to the tribes of the area. The ley lines would have been identified as spirit tracks.
A book written by the present owner describes how he and friends worked to release distressed aboriginal spirits. The central figure of the story is Wharumbidgee, the guardian sprit of the Sacred Site of the Sleeping Serpent. Wharumbidgee describes how his people lived on the land 400 years ago. Go to www.labyrinth.net.au/~jkoch/ltbooks.html