The two consistently cold and calm bays behind our abalone farm have a fiery past. They were formed by lava flow from a volcano nearly 70km away, during an eruption over 300,000 years ago.
This area is Gunditjmara Country, and part of what’s known as the Newer Volcanic Province, the third largest volcanic plain on Earth.
The volcanoes in this region are dormant – there’s still magma down below but there hasn’t been any recent activity detected.
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From the farm, the closest inland volcano is Koroitj (Tower Hill), just the other side of Port Fairy, but the dark grey-black volcanic rocks here were formed by lava flows that travelled from an eruption at the Kolorer (Mt Rouse) volcano, near Penshurst.
The waters of the Southern Ocean met and cooled these these molten flows, and the same ocean waters flow over the basalt rocks and through our farm today.
You can see how important it is for us to ensure clean waters flow back out to sea.
Inland to the west, Budj Bim (Mt Eccles) is another dormant volcano. Part of the Budj Bim Cultural Landscape, it’s a particularly special place for Gunditjmara, World Heritage Listed, and of great interest to aquaculturists. As described by Budj Bim Cultural Landscape:
“The Budj Bim lava flows… enabled the Gunditjmara to develop one of the largest and oldest aquaculture networks in the world. Composed of channels, dams and weirs, they are used to contain floodwaters and create basins to trap, store and harvest the kooyang eel (Anguilla australis), which has provided the population with an economic and social base for six millennia.”
The closest volcano to the farm is actually out at sea, around 20km away. It’s Australia’s only offshore volcano.
While all Country, including Sea Country, holds great significance to Traditional Owners, Deen Maar island is uniquely sacred, and around 7 million years old.
Ocean Road Abalone is not the only producer in our neighbourhood, and the volcanic landscapes have inspired at least two local producers, Volcano Produce and Basalt Wines. They are both just up the road from here, if you take the Ocean Road east.
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