Today there is evidence along the coast and hinterlands around Bridport that testifies to the presence of a once vibrant and dynamic people who are the traditional owners of this Country. The leenerrerter clan belonged to the territory between the polelewawta (Little Forester River) and wartenerkardouler (Great Forester River). Plants, trees and animals of the Forest Placescape are significant to Aboriginal cultural values, and surround you as you walk along the track and into Country.

“Before ‘going into Country’, the women traditionally ochre the peppermint gums in ‘welcoming back the good spirits’ and the men use the smoking bowl to cleanse Country.”

Ochre was an important cultural resource for the   leenerrerter . Aboriginal women obtained and prepared ochre.   It was ground into a sacred powder and used for ceremonial  body and tree marking. It was also mixed with grease to  waterproof the body, hair and beards of the men.  Present day Tasmanian Aborigines still consider ochre to   be a special cultural resource. Polelerwine  (red ochre) is    highly prized.

→The  leenerrerter  people practiced complex forms of reverence  towards the remains of the dead. One practice was to place  the deceased in an upright position in the burnt-out hollows  of the living peppermint gum using lengths of brushwood or  spears. Strips of bark were around the tree to hide the remains  and protect them from animals. Those who had departed the  physical world went to the spirit one on the ‘Islands of the Dead’  (Furneaux Group), and were never mentioned again.

→Grandfather and grandmother peppermint gum were culturally  significant to the leenerrerter  clanspeople both as a ceremonial tree  and burial tree, and remain so for their descendants .

→Collecting places for fibres and food  are evident in the Forest Placescape  of the leenerrerter .  The women  gathered fibres to make string and collecting baskets, used for carrying  food, women’s and men’s tools,  shells, ochre, and eating utensils.  To the present day, plants are carefully selected to produce strong, thin,  narrow strips of fibre of suitable length for basket making.  Several different species of plant still used include white flag iris,    blue flax lily, rush, reeds and sag. There were seasonal cultural traditions that determined the right time   to carry out a number of practical tasks. Women avoided cutting wild    iris leaves and making baskets when the flowers were on the plants,    and this tradition is practiced today.