History of Victoria

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This article describes the history of the Australian state of Victoria.

Contents

Aboriginal History

The state of Victoria was originally home to many indigenous nations that had occupied the land for tens of thousands of years.[1] According to Gary Presland Aborigines have lived in Victoria for about 40,000 years,[2] living a semi-nomadic existence of fishing, hunting and gathering, and farming eels.[3]

At the Keilor Archaeological Site a human hearth excavated in 1971 was radiocarbon-dated to about 31,000 years BP, making Keilor one of the earliest sites of human habitation in Australia.[4] A cranium found at the site has been dated at between 12,000[5] and 14,700 years BP.[4]

Archaeological sites in Tasmania and on the Bass Strait Islands have been dated to between 20,000 – 35,000 years ago, when sea levels were 130 metres below present level allowing Aboriginal people to move across the region of southern Victoria and on to the land bridge of the Bassian plain to Tasmania by at least 35,000 years ago.[6][7]

During the Ice Age about 20,000 years BP, the area now known as Port Phillip Bay would have been dry land, and the Yarra and Werribee river would have joined to flow through the heads then south and south west through the Bassian plain before meeting the ocean to the west. Tasmania and the Bass Strait islands became separated from mainland Australia around 12,000 BP, when the sea level was approximately 50m below present levels.[8] Port Phillip Bay was flooded by post-glacial rising sea levels between 8000 and 6000 years ago.[9]

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