Western Volcanic Plains – an ancient landscape

Image Source: Google Earth

Although Australia is located in the centre of a continental plate, we still experience earthquakes and volcanoes from time to time and our landscape is shaped by these forces. Mt. Eccles, Mt. Rouse, Mt. Napier and Tower Hill are all local examples of extinct volcanoes. 

Mount Eccles is an inactive volcano near Macarthur. It is composed of scoria hill, formed from a series of volcanic vents. The Gunditjmara name for the mountain is Budj Bim meaning High Head. The roughly conical shaped peak rises 178 metres. You can re-create a cinder-cone, like Mt. Eccles, at “Volcano Explorer” by choosing medium viscosity lava and low gas.

Mount Napier is one of the youngest volcanoes in Australia, last erupting in 3290BC. It has a composite lava shield with a superimposed scoria cone. The cone rises 150m above the surrounding plains to an elevation of 440 m, making it the highest point on the Western District Plains of Victoria. The flow also created lava blisters or tumuli along the flow, creating mounds of basalt rocks. The blisters are unique in Australia and a rare occurrence in the rest of the world. They are formed by gas and heat from the lava pushing up against the crust. You can re-create a shield volcano by choosing low viscosity and low gas at the “Volcano Explorer“.

All of these volcanoes erupted in the last 25,000 years, when indigenous tribes lived here. You can see the remains of stone huts, fireplaces, fish and eel traps and middens in many parts of the western district, including Lake Condah and the Mt Eccles State Park. Catalyst produced an interesting program about the aboriginal villages at Lake Condah, which described ancient eel farms, where indigenous farmers bred, caught and smoked eels for trading purposes. You can read more about the aboriginals and the lava flows at Mt Eccles and Lake Condah here.

Your task is to write a 300-500 word story about a day in the life of an indigenous child when one of these volcanoes was actively erupting. Include information about food, family life, shelter and the local flora and fauna. Please check the Google Docs assessment rubric to see what is important about your work. When you have finished, create a matching image in Paint, or find an appropriate creative commons image to share, and add your story and image to your blog. Make sure you send me an email with a link to your blog post, so I can comment on your work, or leave a comment below with your blog address so we can access your post.  Here are some links to assist your research:

This entry was posted in Earth Science, Year 7 and tagged , by brittgow. Bookmark the permalink.

About brittgow

I am a Science and Maths teacher at a small rural school in western Victoria, Australia. I live on a sheep property with my husband and two children, who also attend Hawkesdale P12 College. I am passionate about education for sustainability, indigenous flora and fauna and love teaching!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *