Tourism and Events Information for Victoria’s tourism industry

Discover traditional stories at the Port of Echuca

Echuca has been home to great Australian stories for over 40,000 years.

In fact, Port of Echuca Discovery Centre tour guides like Joel Pearce will tell you that the story of modern Australia was written in Echuca.

"The ability to travel inland across the country is what made Australia what it is, and the river trade made that possible," said Joel.

"Without the people working on the boats, we wouldn't have been able to grow the wheat crops or run the sheep trade the way we did," he added.

But Echuca's history stretches back far beyond the river trade and European settlement.

According to Yorta Yorta Traditional Owners, it stretches back to the beginning. Back to when the Rainbow Serpent carved Dhungala, the Murray River, on its way to the ocean.

This creation story is now central to the refurbished Port of Echuca Discovery Centre, thanks to a beautiful mural by Yorta Yorta artist Stuart Hearn.

"The mural is based on a creation story that I was told as a kid," said Stuart.

It features images of the story’s key figures, including Biami, the All-Father and Gane, the Rainbow Serpent.

P.S. Adelaide Exhibit

Yorta Yorta Artist Stuart Hearn

As creation stories can only be told by elders, the mural also features an audio recording of the story being told by Yorta Yorta Elder, Uncle Des Morgan.

The mural is part of a $600,000 refurbishment that was funded by the Victorian Government's Regional Tourism Investment Fund - Stimulus Round.

Other works include the refreshment and installation of digital recordings for various exhibitions.

Critically, the refurbishment has helped to bring Yorta Yorta voices and stories to the forefront.

"Coming here is a wonderful opportunity to share the culture that has been here since the start. It's the oldest living culture on the planet," said Stuart.

"So, if you actually want to learn more, feel more, experience more of our culture, this is where you can come to hear this particular story," he added.

For Joel Pearce, it is important for the Discovery Centre to reflect the rich variety of stories from Echuca's past.

"As time goes on, we learn more about our own history. So, being able to tell parts of the Yorta Yorta story is important," he said.

"We have so many stories to tell, we can't keep it contained to just one. And being able to change that up makes it better for everyone," he added.

The Port of Echuca Discovery Centre is open to visitors.

We acknowledge and recognise the Traditional Owners of the land on which the Port of Echuca Discovery Centre sits, the Yorta Yorta Peoples.

Page last updated: 28 Aug 2023
Back to top
Australian aboriginal flag

We acknowledge the Aboriginal Traditional Owners of Country throughout Victoria, their ongoing connection to this land and we pay our respects to their culture and their Elders past, present and future.

© 2023 Department of Jobs, Skills, Industry and Regions

This page was printed at: