Wil-im-ee Moor-ring is famous for its valuable greenstone that the Wurundjeri people quarried to make their stone hatchets.
Wil-im-ee Moor-ring is a large quarry for greenstone at Lancefield on Wurundjeri Country.
Wil-im-ee Moor-ring is one of the largest quarries in southeast Australia and has hundreds of old mining pits as well as piles of rocks that were left over from the main stone that was quarried.
Wurundjeri people would dig deep pits to reach the stone below ground that hadn’t been affected by weather or damaged and break pieces off. They also fractured the surface of big boulders that were above ground using an alternating mix of fire and cold water. These individual pieces of stone were then roughly shaped into hatchet heads for personal use and trade.
The hatched heads were extremely valuable and were an essential tool that all mobs (in south-east Australia) had. The hatchet head was attached to a wooden handle with sinew, string and gum and they were used to shape wood, cut bark for canoes and cut hollows in trees to catch food.
Aboriginal implements, State Library Victoria.
As the Wil-im-ee Moor-ring greenstone was so valuable many neighbouring mobs wanted some for their own hatchets. The trading was important for many reasons. It allowed Wurundjeri mob to receive new materials in exchange for the stone but it also helped to strengthen relationships between different mobs and reinforced kinship connections.
“When neighbouring tribes wanted stone for tomahawks they sent a messenger to Billibellary to say they would take opossum rugs and other things if he would give them stone for them” - Wurundjeri Elder, Uncle William Barak to anthropologist Alfred Howitt
For three pieces of stone, mobs had to give a full possum skin rug but it was worth it due to the great quality of the stone. Wil-im-ee Moor-ring greenstone has even been found in New South Wales and South Australia.
Mount William Quarry. By John Stevens - John Stevens, CC BY-SA 3.0.
Wil-im-ee Moor-ring Today
Will-im-ee Moor-ring was added to the National Heritage List in 2008.
In 2012 on the 23rd of October, the title to Wil-im-ee Moor-ring (Mount William) was handed back to Wurundjeri people in a ceremony that included 200 Kulin Elders and guests. The federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin formally handed over the title and Wurundjeri Elder, Uncle Bill Nicholson, accepted the land on behalf of the Wurundjeri community.
The Wurundjeri Tribe Land Cultural Heritage Council now own these lands permanently to ensure their preservation.
- Aboriginal History of Yarra, Mount William Stone Hatchet Quarry
- Aboriginal History of Yarra, Melbourne Dreaming Wil-im-ee Moor-ring (Mount William Quarry)
- Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, National Heritage Places - Mount William Stone Hatchet Quarry