Meandering through the Victory Memorial Gardens and Civic Centre precinct in the centre of Wagga, the Wollundry Lagoon is the perfect spot to relax or enjoy a pleasant stroll amongst native vegetation.
The lagoon is important to Aboriginal people for its spiritual, historical, social and aesthetic values. It is associated with the Dreaming story of the Wawi, a reptile-like spirit which resided in, and protected the Lagoon.
Wollundry is an Anglicised word derived from the Wiradjuri language. ‘Walang’ means ‘stone’ or ‘hard’ and ‘duray’, means ‘having’ or ‘place of’. Thus Wollundry (Walangduray) means ‘stone-having’ or ‘place of stones’. The name is probably a reference to a granite rock bar (outcropping rocks) in the river below the present day St John’s Church or to the granite on which the church stands.
The surrounding sandhills have been used by Aboriginal groups for camping. At the time of European settlement, families camped near the lagoon and surrounding areas. Major gatherings attended by 400-500 Aboriginal people or ‘grand corroborees’ occurred in 1842 and 1843.
Traditional Wiradjuri food and medicine collecting and cultural activities were practised at least until the 1870s, including the use of fish balks, or weirs, for managing supplies of fish.
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